June 11, 2004

in VoIP

This post represents quick notes on Skype and Stanaphone. As Om Malik worries about a price war. Frankly I’m just surprised Stanaphone has the money and commitment to go down this route.

After Andy Abramson blogged Stanaphone as Free Calling… huh?. I downloaded it and made a couple of phone calls. They were adequate. I only made calls within the US. In one quick test we held a Skype connection and Stanaphone connection open at the same time. We ran a count while the listener listened for latency. Skype PC to PC and Stanaphone PC to phone. Frankly on this simple test latency results varied with one ahead of the other and then reversing. Not enough to really effect the conversation.

A key difference remains Skype call quality which simply provides a clearer sound. I’ve made this point for awhile now. Now here’s the problem for Skype. As soon as they run the PSTN interconnect their call quality goes down. I’ve had a few calls from Skype beta testers. Over a week ago I had one from Luxembourg to my Vonage account. It was only ok and the quality was worse than Vonage, the PSTN or my cellphone usually is. I think that connection remains through Denmark. While I presume they are still working on correcting poor quality IP to PSTN connections at this point the quality will not set the world on fire. Comparison? How many do you know that use Yahoo Messenger’s Net2Phone function for example?

Additional notes on Stanaphone:
When installing Stanaphone I noted it was an SJPhone from SJLabs. The latest version version that launched this week. Stanalone is in beta. You can also receive calls. Stanaphone to Stanaphone works ok

So if you have Skype live in India and can’t call your Mac buddies then download Stanaphone and try calling your friends in the US on a landline. The quality may suck. This will enable free dialing for a few other countries too. I don’t think this is quite what the company had in mind. Then you could register as many different addresses as you want currently to get the 100 free minutes for each of them. I really wonder how long this beta will last?

Additional notes on Softphones vs IM-Voice. There needs to be a mental shift in what we turn out as softphones. The traditional phone was a dialer and not much more. The problem is we are creating desktop dialers and call them softphones and expect people to get excited. A phone in that state is a commodity! You go to Target and you buy a commodity cordless handset. Perhaps the upside is these products require little learning if (big if) they install easily. More imagination will be required.

Previous post:

Next post: