As of today, you no longer need a relatively pricey PC to chat on Skype when you’d rather not break out your phone — a cheap-and-cheerful Chromebook will do the trick. In addition to expanding the Skype web beta worldwide, Microsoft has introduced instant messaging for both Chrome OS and Linux users. It’s not the video or voice calling you’re looking for, but it means that you can stay in touch with Skype-obsessed family members without having to switch devices or services. The messaging platform is based on the open, video-capable WebRTC standard, so don’t be surprised if you’re eventually holding face-to-face Skype conversations on that Chrome machine.
Via: The Next Web
If you need any further proof that Microsoft is backing away from touch-centric interfaces in Windows 10, you just got it. The Skype team has revealed that it’s planning to ditch the “modern” Windows (read: Windows 8-only) version of its messaging app on PCs as of July 7th. After that, the next update to the app will kick you over to the desktop release. Skype says that it’s “simplifying” its experience around a single program that you can use with both a touchscreen and a mouse and keyboard. That’s certainly true, although it’s also an acknowledgment that people prefer the desktop app more — it’s easier to navigate without scrolling, and there are more features (such as screen sharing) that might convince you to stay. This shift won’t affect Windows RT or the Skype features woven into Windows 10, but there’s no doubt that the conventional desktop software is the big star going forward.
In order for Chrome OS to succeed, Google needs all the support it can get from developers. Hardware companies are certainly doing their part, namely by offering Chromebooks to people at affordable prices. That’s why it’s important when a popular service such as Viber launches on the platform, like today. Now users can start using the app to communicate with friends or family directly from their Chromebook, just as they would on iOS, Android or Windows Phone. Not only can you send text and picture messages, but also make phone and video calls to your contacts. It’s free too, which comes in handy if you’re trying talk to people across different countries.
Source: Chrome Web Store
Like anything in an open market, competition allows for changes to be made rapidly in a market space. Recently many chat applications have been adding VOIP calling as a standard feature. Apps like Google Hangouts, WeChat, and Viber allow, mostly, free calls to users over the internet. Recently the team at WhatsApp has entered the fray. According to Reddit user Pradnesh07, this feature was enabled on his device by someone else calling him. Click here to check out a video of screenshots he took of VOIP enabled in WhatsApp. In short, a user with the VOIP feature enabled called Pradnesh07 lighting it up for him. Reportedly, this feature will work on any Android device with WhatsApp build number 2.11.508. Right now, due to its lack of presence in Google Play, side-loading the app is the only option for installation.
The video released by Pradnesh07 shows clearly that the app is segmented into three parts: calls, chats, and contacts. All the standard internet phone features are there like speakerphone, instant messaging, and mute. You can even send IMs while in a call. Since this is a huge feature not officially released by the team at WhatsApp, it seem like it has rolled out to a small group of test users.
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Many users have been anticipating WhatsApp to finally bring voice calling to its application sometime in 2015, and it looks like the feature is beginning to roll out to some users. The calling, like WhatsApp messaging, uses an internet connection to place a phone call instead of relying exclusively on a carrier’s network to handle the call.
The updated calling interface isn’t available to everyone, but according to some Reddit users, if you already have the update you can get another person in on the voice calling action by placing a call to them, forcing the interface update. WhatsApp hasn’t made anything official just yet, so this is all pure speculation and trial and error.
Regardless, if you’ve been wanting voice calling through the app, you shouldn’t have to wait too much longer. If some users are seeing it, we can probably expect a massive launch for everyone in the near future.
Come comment on this article: Voice calling finally starting to appear for some WhatsApp users
When Verizon launched its “Advanced Calling 1.0″ feature earlier this month (read: voice over LTE), it only worked with two phones: The Samsung Galaxy S5 and the LG G2. Now the company can add the iPhone to that list, well, at least the iPhone 6. Verizon customers who upgraded to Cupertino’s latest handset are reporting that VoLTE is working on both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. A user on the MacRumors forum said he had to activate the feature in his phone’s cellular menu first, but afterwards was able to make calls freely. It’s also notable that he called a landline — previously, the feature was only said to work between compatible Verizon phones. Is it working for you? Fire up your new handset (if you’re into that brand), and let us know in the comments.
Google Voice has only had a limited tie-in with Hangouts so far, but it now looks like the two are coming together in earnest. Android Police notes that you can now set up Hangouts to receive Google Voice text messages and voicemail, whether you’re on mobile or the desktop. Switch on the feature and you won’t have to jump between apps to deal with conversations based on where they came from. You may not want to migrate just yet, though — replies aren’t working perfectly at the moment, and it otherwise appears that Google flicked the switch a little early. There should be a Hangouts update soon, though, so those glitches might not stick around for much longer.
[Image credit: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo]
Via: The Next Web
Source: Android Police
Internet calling is what Viber’s mostly known for these days, although the Rakuten-owned service does invest heavily in the messaging side of things, too. Hold & Talk (aka push-to-talk), for example, allows Viber users to send quick voice messages to each other, with the touch of a button. And now, nearly eight months after it came to iOS and Android, the feature is ready to grace Windows Phone 8 handsets. This means contacts can communicate between themselves almost instantly, in a Snapchat-like way but with voice messages rather than pictures. Viber also made some design changes to the application, which brings the looks of it more in line with Microsoft’s desired guidelines after that WP 8.1 software refresh. Your move, Skype.
The rumor is that eventually we’re going to see Google Voice merged completely into Hangouts, and that’s getting even closer to becoming reality. You can now make phone calls via Hangouts directly from the Google Voice website, no Google+ necessary. As Mountain View’s Alex Wiesen notes on G+, the new feature is listed as an option in the “phone to call with” drop-down box. It seems a bit minor, sure, especially when you consider that Hangouts is already how you make phone calls from within Gmail — but any updates for the oft-neglected service are welcome, right?
Source: Alex Wiesen (Google+)
Mobile dead spots can be a right headache, whether you get them at home, at work or a place you visit often. Luckily, EE and Three may soon be able to help. Earlier today, the two operators confirmed they’re going to let customers make high-quality calls and send text messages, even when there’s only a WiFi connection available. The good news is that if you’re an EE customer, you won’t notice a thing, even though the company is exercising its technological prowess silently in the background.
It works like this: once you connect your smartphone to WiFi, EE immediately hands off communication from its voice network to the broadband provider. Incoming/outgoing calls or texts are then broken down into packet data and routed back to EE’s core network, completing the circuit. Because EE utilises tech (IP Multimedia Subsystem or IMS if you’re interested) already supported by many of the latest smartphones, calls are automatically encrypted and can’t be eavesdropped upon by a public WiFi provider. You won’t need to launch an app or tweak settings on your phone either, as calls can be made through the phone’s native dialler and will be deducted from your allowance accordingly.
Three, on the other hand, plans to do things a little differently. In “early August,” the operator will launch Three inTouch, which operates much in the same way as EE (offering calls and texts over a WiFi connection). However, like O2′s TU Go, Three’s service requires the use of an app.
EE also revealed that it’ll soon start enabling VoLTE services, expanding its high-definition voice service across its networks and extending coverage to rural areas that had previously been unconnected. In regards to its WiFi plans, EE tells us that it has already tested the service on a Samsung Note 3, which was enabled by a simple over-the-air firmware upgrade sent by the carrier. Ahead of its autumn launch, the provider says it intends to test “hundreds” of public WiFi services to ensure they are capable of delivering “high-quality” calls. If they are unable to, EE says it will simply not allow customers to use them.