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VoIP Mobility & the Nokia N80

I'm using an advance in mobile telephony that is every bit as big a deal as Skype was when it launched. It drives down costs of mobile calling to VoIP levels. It lets me use VoIP on my mobile without worrying about funny call numbers, or wasting my minutes. The mobile I'm talking about is the Nokia N80IE (Internet Edition). It is a real leap forward providing a dual mode handset with real SIP support built in.  

Do you want more than one line on your cellphone? Would you like to make cheap calls using VoIP rates? Do you have a GizmoProject account? Are you willing to try yet another VoIP provider? Do you have the money for one of Nokia's fantastic N80IE 's? Relevant questions? Who will want it? Those that live in WiFi enables areas all the time. Home/Work/Campus. (sorry about the fuzzy pics! just poorly taken)

    

What you need:

Last night I finally got the third line (Truphone) working on  the N80. Thus when I'm on a WiFi hotspot you could ring anyone of three numbers and reach me. While I know that may be too much availability it suggests some ways to manage your access.

Armed with this I could easily enable my work number to ring my cell all around the office. And while at home I could continue to take those calls or turn that line off and use the other VoIP account for my friends and family. In practice controlling and letting people have all these numbers and trying to route them is less than practical. (Thus showing why Grand Central is making one play on this space). On or Off is not an effect paradigm for access. Alec Saunders pipes in too.

Notes:
GizmoProject comes ready to install on the N80IE. It's accessed via a new folder "Internet" / "Downloads". A simple click, your Gizmo Project account details - name and password, a connection to WiFi and if you are like me.. you are up and running. It worked so well that I went and bought a 3 month GizmoIn number and put some dollars on the calling plan. Depending on where you call the rates are pretty good. I'd hoped I'd be using it from India on this last trip, however Cisco has installed some "security" firewalls and I've not solved it for calls from there yet. I'm taking a travel router back so next visit it should work just fine.  GizmoVoip also enables a web directory of your Gizmo  pals.

Truphone. I installed Truphone last night. It was a hassle. I followed the instructions which fail to point out that you must install to phone memory. Once I got that sorted (thanks to Jim Courtney) it worked fine. A SIP to SIP call with him again proved that the call quality was higher than on a normal cellphone call. It's also a much better call when in my home where the cellphone almost doesn't work. At the moment the deal offered for the US and the UK is better on Truphone than on Gizmo. However, rates to other countries look less competitive.

Conclusion:
  • These new services demonstrate that having a low cost "voip" channel on your handset is the wave of the future. Next years hot Christmas present will be a cellphone with WiFi for the college crowd. 
  • Once the "install" bugs are fixed even the common user will get it and will be able to use it. Note the Nokia N80 can be set to be "VoIP" centric. Ie it will make all calls using VoIP when in a hotspot. There's an opportunity to refine the management of this on the handsets. See Alec's comment on Iotum below.
  • Note adding a VoIP service is only adding a "channel" that enables the customer to talk. Access is still only an "on" or "off" thing. That's not really what users desire. From the users perspective the only thing that matters is whether they can talk over it. The user is effectively channel agnostic.
  • The mobile operators are in trouble. Because like the PSTN they forgot voice quality. I will choose better voice quality every time and even more often if the price is cheaper.
Note:
Thanks to Andy Abramson for letting me try out the latest N80IE. I bought the original N80 back in July hoping I could make it do just the things that the IE is now delivering. It is still unclear to me whether Nokia has 'obsoleted" my N80 without an upgrade path or if the upgrades will soon be offered. I and I know many other N80 users hope it is the latter. I'll share more on that later.

There are many other features packed into the N80. I've taken thousands of pictures with it, use and try lots of other software etc. I'll keep that for a separate post.

See also:
Andy Abramson on GizmoVoIP
Alec Saunders on both services and Iotum He puts the case why he thinks it will provide huge saving for him.

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Comments (5)

Hi Stuart,

You may remember that you supported us with the launch of fring, the free mobile VoIP service beta back in October last year, but were keen for it to be made available for Nokia N80 - N91 users. Well - I'm pleased to say that for 2007, we've upgraded the beta to do just that, and much more! The new and improved version - which launches soon, will feature:

Wider handset compatibility, adding Nokia N80, E61, N73, E60, N91, N92 and N93 handsets to the existing fring-friendly phones (Nokia 6630, 6680, 6681, 6682, N70, N72, N90)

WiFi connectivity with automatic handover configuration so you can use hotspots to make calls quickly and easily over wireless networks

Improved voice quality with reduced latency

Reduced battery consumption

Offline IM messages

Let me know if you’d like some sneak preview screengrabs to better understand these enhancements.

Your feedback is really appreciated on the fring experience, so don't hesitate to get in touch
www.fring.com

Best,
Kristoff

mwarf [TypeKey Profile Page]:

I bought the original n80 and was dissapointed to see no software upgrade to the n80ie version - such as yourself. I had great success changing the product code with an application called NSS (google it) - then the nokia firmware updater flashed my phone as a Nokia n80ie - the perfect upgrade! I installed truphone and it's working great!

Stuart [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Thanks for the pointer! It's just become available and I can report that I was successful too!

Faiz:

Hi Stuart,

Recently I've been searching for Nokia N80IE and using it for VOIP and found you site! Also interesting was that you've traveled to India recently - I come from there but live in Trondheim, Norway.

I'll browse your India photos some time soon but for now it would be great if you share your experience about N80. Do you recommend it? I need to replace my SE-K750i that has started mis-behaving.

Ken W.:

N80ie firmware now part of the N80 software update from Nokia. N80 users rejoice!

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