IPhone App to Sidestep AT&T

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IPhone App to Sidestep AT&T

Post by S7 SecurityGuy on Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:14 am

IPhone App to Sidestep AT&T








by David Pogue
Thursday, March 25, 2010
provided by
For a little $1
iPhone app, Line2 sure has the potential to shake up an entire industry.
It can save you
money. It can make calls where AT&T's (T) signal is weak, like
indoors. It can turn an iPod Touch into a full-blown cellphone.And
it can ruin the sleep of cellphone executives everywhere.Line2
gives your iPhone a second phone number -- a second phone line, complete
with its own contacts list, voice mail, and so on. The company behind
it, Toktumi (get it?), imagines that you'll distribute the Line2 number
to business contacts, and your regular iPhone number to friends and
family. Your second line can be an 800 number, if you wish, or you can
transfer an existing number.To that end, Toktumi offers, on its
Web site, a raft of Google (GOOG) Voice-ish features
that are intended to help a small businesses look bigger: call
screening, Do Not Disturb hours and voice mail messages sent to you as
e-mail. You can create an "automated attendant" -- "Press 1 for sales,"
"Press 2 for accounting," and so on -- that routes incoming calls to
other phone numbers. Or, if you're pretending to be a bigger business
than you are, route them all to yourself.
The Line2
app is a carbon copy, a visual clone, of the iPhone's own phone
software. The dialing pad, your iPhone Contacts list, your recent calls
list and visual voice mail all look just like the iPhone's.(Let's
pause for a moment here to blink, dumbfounded, at that point. Apple's
(AAPL) rules prohibit
App Store programs that look or work too much like the iPhone's own
built-in apps. For example, Apple rejected the Google Voice app because,
as Apple explained to the Federal Communications Commission, it works
"by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple
user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls." That
is exactly what Line2 does. Oh well -- the Jobs works in mysterious
ways.)So you have a second line on your iPhone. But that's not
the best part.Line2 also turns the iPhone into a dual-mode phone.
That is, it can make and receive calls either using either the AT&T
airwaves as usual, or -- now this is the best part -- over the
Internet. Any time you're in a wireless hot spot, Line2 places its calls
over Wi-Fi instead of AT&T's network.That's a game-changer.
Where, after all, is cellphone reception generally the worst? Right --
indoors. In your house or your office building, precisely where you have
Wi-Fi. Line2 in Wi-Fi means rock-solid, confident reception indoors.Line2
also runs on the iPod Touch. When you're in a Wi-Fi hot spot, your
Touch is now a full-blown cellphone, and you don't owe AT&T a penny.But
wait, there's more.Turns out Wi-Fi calls don't use up any
AT&T minutes. You can talk all day long, without ever worrying about
going over your monthly allotment of minutes. Wi-Fi calls are free
forever.Well, not quite free; Line2 service costs $15 a month
(after a 30-day free trial).But here's one of those cases where
spending more could save you money. If you're in a Wi-Fi hot spot most
of the time (at work, for example), that's an awful lot of calling you
can do in Wi-Fi -- probably enough to downgrade your AT&T plan to
one that gives you fewer minutes. If you're on the 900-minute or
unlimited plan ($90 or $100 a month), for example, you might be able to
get away with the 450-minute plan ($70). Even with Line2's fee, you're
saving $5 or $15 a month.Line2 also lets you call overseas phone
numbers for Skype-like rates: 2 to 5 cents a minute to most countries.
(A full table of rates is available at toktumi.com.) As a handy
globetrotters' bonus, calls home to numbers in the United States from
overseas hot spots are free.All of these benefits come to you
when you're in a Wi-Fi hot spot, because your calls are carried by the
Internet instead of by AT&T. Interestingly enough, though, Line2 can
also make Internet calls even when you're not in a hot spot.It
can, at your option, place calls over AT&T's 3G data network, where
it's available. Every iPhone plan includes unlimited use of this 3G
network -- it's how your iPhone sends e-mail and surfs the Web. So once
again, Line2 calls don't use up any of your monthly voice minutes.Unfortunately,
voice connections on the 3G network aren't as strong and reliable as
the voice or Wi-Fi methods. Cellular data networks aren't made for
seamless handoffs from cell tower to tower as you drive, for example --
there's not much need for it if you're just doing e-mail and Web -- so
dropped calls are more likely. Fortunately, if you're on a 3G
data-network call and you walk into a hot spot, Line2 switches to the
more reliable Wi-Fi network seamlessly, in midcall.Whenever you
do have an Internet connection -- either Wi-Fi or a strong 3G area --
you're in for a startling treat. If you and your calling partner are
both Line2 subscribers, Line2 kicks you into superhigh audio-quality
mode (16-bit mode, as the techies call it).Your calling partners
sound as if they're speaking right into the mike at an FM radio station.
It's almost too clear; you hear the other person's breathing, lip
smacks, clothing rustling and so on. After years of suffering through
awful cellphone audio, it's quite a revelation to hear what you've been
missing.Now, this all sounds wonderful, and Line2 generally is
wonderful. But there's room for improvement.First, as you've no
doubt already concluded, understanding Line2 is complicated. You have
three different ways to make calls, each with pros and cons.You
miss a certain degree of refinement, too. The dialing pad doesn't make
touch-tone sounds as you tap the keys. There's no Favorites list within
the Line2 app. You can't get or send text messages on your Line2 line.
(The company says it will fix all this soon.)There's a faint hiss
on Line2 calls, as if you're on a long-distance call in 1970. The
company says that it deliberately introduces this "comfort noise" to
reassure you that you're still connected, but it's unnecessary. And
sometimes there's a voice delay of a half-second or so (of course, you
sometimes get that on regular cellphone calls, too).Finally, a
note about incoming calls. If the Line2 app is open at the time, you're
connected via Wi-Fi, if available. If it's not running, the call comes
in through AT&T, so you lose the benefits of Wi-Fi calling. In
short, until Apple blesses the iPhone with multitasking software, you
have to leave Line2 open whenever you put the phone to sleep. That's
awkward.Still, Line2 is the first app that can receive incoming
calls via either Wi-Fi or cellular voice, so you get the call even if
the app isn't running. That's one of several advantages that distinguish
it from other voice-over-Internet apps like Skype and TruPhone.Another
example: If you're on a Wi-Fi call using those other programs, and
someone calls your regular iPhone number, your first call is
unceremoniously disconnected. Line2, on the other hand, offers you the
chance to decline the incoming call without losing your Wi-Fi call.Those
rival apps also lack Line2's call-management features, visual voice
mail and conference calling with up to 20 other people. And Line2 is the
only app that gives you a choice of call methods for incoming and
outgoing calls.All of this should rattle cell industry
executives, because let's face it: the Internet tends to make things
free. Cell carriers go through life hoping nobody notices the cellephant
in the room: that once everybody starts making free calls over the
Internet, it's Game Over for the dollars-for-minutes model.Line2,
however, brings us one big step closer to that very future. It's going
to be a wild ride.

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Re: IPhone App to Sidestep AT&T

Post by S7 Bullet on Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:10 pm

don't download this app yet. they app has problems acording to the reviews since this article. there servers cant handle the amount of traffic there getting. i would hold off for several weeks before trying

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Re: IPhone App to Sidestep AT&T

Post by S7 Smack on Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:35 pm

LOL I was just reading this story before I came on here news travels fast I guess haha.

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Re: IPhone App to Sidestep AT&T

Post by S7 MCampbell on Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:39 pm

I also saw it they have already pulled it from the app store, Great new app

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Re: IPhone App to Sidestep AT&T

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