Fring Channels Calls Anywhere

October 7, 2008

in general

I can see it is going to be harder and harder to gain visibility for new apps on the iPhone. I learnt about Fring via Pat Phelan’s tweet. I’m also hearing that while many are adding many many apps to their iPhones not many are being used regularly. In Fring’s case they may be one of the breakthrough popular apps that stays on.

Fring Brings Skype to iPhone

I’ve done a series of tests and they all passed with flying colours, first up was Skype and a quick call to Robin Blanford went perfect with 7/10 quality, This was a Skype call over wifi on the iPhone, really quite amazing

Like Pat I did a series of tests. It’s not the first time I’ve used Fring. I was an early trialist of Nokia versions and ran their jailbroken iPhone version in the days before the app store and 3G iPhones. The number one thing I like about Fring is the dialer. With SIP and Skype integrated it just works. Where I have problems with Fring (and other solutions like it that combine multiple accounts) is the complexity and duplication that exists in the buddylist. I end up with more and more duplication and really I don’t know which account is Skype (yes worked it out but dislike the colors). I must have easy a list of 1500 names when I turn on just a few accounts. Using search can turn up five or six possible connections for a single person. These connections tell me very little about the person.

Fring proves to me more and more the complexity of forcing me to manage which channel I should contact you on rather than just reaching out to you as a name or a profile. If I want to ensure I get a hold of you directly I should just ring your mobile. It’s most likely that I’ll connect with you, interrupt you or at least leave a message where you are most likely to get it. In fact that’s what most people are doing already. It’s one reason why SMS is now so popular. Unless the connections are global or the numbers are unknown why make your desire to talk known any other way?

I’m a believer that our communications needs have changed and it is becoming increasingly obvious. iPhones and their ilk move all communications into the palm of the hand. Only three channels really matter.  SMS, Talk and email. The first two are real-time and the latter is for asynchronous communications. Add to this group notifications which increasingly matter. Thus Twitter style status updates are a powerful accompaniment when delivered via SMS. The problem we have to solve is not the aggregation of channels. Rather it is how access should be interpreted. In my book the channel could be invisible, what I want is text, talk and sharing capabilities and an easy understanding of when to use each type.

No question I come at these with a Phweet POV. Fring is the most powerful combination of calling and IM that exists. It works well and I’ll show you how you can leverage / connect Fring and Phweet in another post.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Markus Göbel's Tech News Comments October 7, 2008 at 11:33 am

Fring is already taking care of your complexity problem:

In future software versions, every person should appear only once in Fring’s contact list. Until now some people appear twofold, threefold or even more times – because they are connected to Skype, MSN, ICQ or other services at the same time. One click at the buddy’s icon will start a chat, no matter which messenger to other person is using, which can always be escalated into a Fring phone call via VoIP.

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