Nimbuzz gains a step thanks to Voxbone

Tobias Kemper, Nimbuzz’s head of communications, says Nimbuzz wants to be a truly mass-market application. But before they can get there, they’ll need to increase the number of ways folks can access and use the service.

One step in that direction was their recent tapping of Voxbone, a provider of worldwide telephone numbers and origination services for voice carriers, to help bring Nimbuzz users the ability to make voice calls without 3G of Wi-Fi connectivity.

In a market known for services that are often clunky to use, Nimbuzz can now detect when a user is out of Wi-Fi or 3G range then seamlessly dial a local Voxbone access number and route the call over the Internet. Nothing changes for the user, except more ways to make low cost (or free) calls.

This new functionality also opens up new markets for Nimbuzz, as they will now be able to provide reliable mobile VoIP calling outside of Internet range as well as over 2G networks.

Nimbuzz might not be a mass market application yet, but if they keep taking steps like this, it might not be long before they are.

Jaxtr gets sold, which mobile VoIP provider is next?

For those outside of the VoIP industry, 2008 will go down as the year the great recession began. For those inside the industry, 2008 was the year Mobile VoIP grew in prominence.

A year ago at this time, news of a mobile VoIP provider being acquired would have garnered a ton of headlines. Today, there was barely a footnote mentioning the sale of Jaxtr to Sabse Technologies, an 18 month old start-up backed by Hotmail co-founder Sabeer Bhatia.

Jaxtr, like many other companies at the time, fell victim to the economy and the lack of an active revenue generation model forcing it to trim its operations.  Many at the time proclaimed it to be the begin of the end.

I took an optimist’s view. It seems that today’s news lands in between the two.

What then does this say about the mobile VoIP industry?

There’s still interest, but not at the same price as once before. The industry is still alive, but it looks a lot different than a year ago.

Front runner Truphone is still going strong. fring continues to add features, functionality and users. Skype for the iPhone was a huge hit, even with limited functionality.

But for those mobile VoIP providers that continue to forge ahead, others have decided on a new path. Companies like Mobivox and Numbuzz have looked to partner with carriers, rather than compete directly.

Others are no longer in business.

The sale of Jaxtr is only the beginning of the M&A activity that will be seen over the next 12 to 18 months within the mobile VoIP industry. As for predicting who’s next, my guess is as good as yours – but expect more than one deal to go down by the end of this year.

iPod Touch: Your Next WiFi Phone?

Mobile VoIP service provider Truphone announced the availability of their Truphone application for the iPod Touch today. This announcement, which is the latest in a series of announcements out of the company, essentially turns your iPod Touch into a pretty robust WiFi VoIP phone or, to coin a new term, a VoIP Smartphone.

With the iPod Touch starting at around $229, when you bundle in the Truphone client, it is actually a vernerable choice if you are in the market for a WiFi VoIP phone since many of today’s WiFi VoIP phones are in the $200+ range making this a very interesting play/solution.

I don’t have an iPod Touch so i can’t comment about the application first hand, but I do use Truphone’s service on my iPhone (see my review here) and I have to say that the service has been great. So, if you are an iPod Touch user, or are looking for a WiFi VoIP phone, take a hard look at this.

Subsidize Laptops, Not Phones?

Fancy that. Another brilliant ploy for your dollars by the wireless telcos.

Lock-in customers by contract for a few years by subsidizing laptops in order to avoid churn.

[Read more…]

Great Comment About Apple

From Ward Mundy on my iPhone VoIP is a Dud post,

I’m a big fan of Apple computers. In fact, I have lots of them including an iPhone. But I’ve never been a fan of Apple, Inc. and its business practices. For all the bashing that Microsoft takes, consider for a moment where we’d all be if Apple had been in the driver’s seat with the industry standard business operating system. It would have been everyone’s worst nightmare. And the iPhone pretty much proves it.

Could not agree more here.