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Thursday, February 14, 2008

fring - VoIP for PDA and Windows Mobile Phones

fring - VoIP for PDAs Talk and chat for free with fring mobile voip. Connect to Skype, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, Twitter & SIP contacts from anywhere.
(Click for WM5 & 6 Screenshots)

"fring" is a free software program and service for Windows Mobile 5, 6 and Symbian phones that uses VoIP to allow you to make cheap and free calls and instant messages. If you're looking for a way to bring down the cost of making a phone call, fring may be the solution you've been seeking.

It's a unique offering that for the first time brings together connections to Skype, SIP, GoogleTalk, MSN Messenger, plus the sub-blogging service Twitter. You can choose whatever SIP service you like, including the GizmoProject, VoipCheap, VoipStunt, Free World DialUp and others, and even use SIP on fring with otherwise non-SIP enabled devices. These services come together on your mobile handset to give you the best possible chances to keep your phone costs low.

The arrangement works over over 3G, GPRS and Wi-Fi networks regardless of your carrier. All you need is your carrier's data plan or a hotspot and you';re good to go to make a free or low cost VoIP call.  It allows you to conserve you airtime and save it for circumstances when no Wi-Fi connection is available. In addition, fring to fring calls are entirely free which makes buddy-to-buddy communications a snap. If you have a lot of friends, you'll love fring.


To begin a conversation, you simply pick a contact and hit the green button, or go to options and then click either call or chat to begin a communication session. Does it get much easier than that?

fring allows you to organize all your IM and phone contacts in one place and rather than using SMS, you can chat freely using Messenger. For $30 per year you can use your SkypeOut account to make free calls to any phone in North America and low cost international calls.

If you have a lot of IM contacts, you can not only see when your friends are online, you can also see if they're typing or not. It makes the chat feel more like a real conversation instead of waiting in limbo as they type their responses.

I've been a Skype user for years now and have all my phone numbers and contact information located there, so fring is a big plus in helping me to keep all this information together and make it available when I use the other services. The beauty of Skype (besides VoIP) is that it's very much like GMail in that, your information does not exist on your device. You can access it from anywhere and on any device including your laptop, so it's always available no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. All you need is an Internet connection and it's always handy. That's a big advantage for a person on the go and fring is a perfect tool to get the most out of the security and convenience this offers.

The beauty of the chat feature of fring as compared to SMS, is that you can view your entire chat conversation in real-time on your handset and reduce the high accumulated costs of SMS.

However, fring does have some annoying aspects. Such as when you have 4 contacts named simply Joe and there's no way to distinguish them. It's a real oversight and needs to be corrected. Fortunately, it should only be a problem if you have too many people with the same identifying name on you list.

I laud the creators of fring for their efforts to create a different means for people to talk at much lower costs. The cellphone industry needs to be reigned in and taken to task for not providing cost effective services for people and businesses to use. Products like fring (if they become widely enough used) can put pressure on these companies and force them to lower the cost of phone calls for everyone. Hopefully, enough people will adopt fing, and services like it, quickly so that this can become a reality sooner rather than later.