New Vonage Calling App for iPhone and Android

[box type=”info” border=”full”]This post is paid for by Vonage[/box]

The app landscape is not short of free calling and messaging apps. Skype and Whatsapp stand at the top of the list. However, Vonage is trying to crack the market with a new iPhone and Android calling app.

Despite them paying me to talk about the app, I’m actually genuinely impressed. It lacks the existing network that Skype and other apps come with, but the app itself is very nicely executed. It feels more like an iOS first-party app than something that has been ported from desktop. It’s very quick to navigate around, and uses your existing address book (let’s hope they don’t upload it like Path did) to make calls and send messages.

If the person you are calling is a Vonage user, the call is 100% free (excluding data charges). To coax your friends onto the service, the Vonage Mobile multi-invite function lets you invite anyone (or everyone) from your contact list with one simple text. Skype requires you to search for users and invite each person one at a time.

Vonage Mobile doesn’t limit calls to people with the app, or even to people who have a smartphone. You can call direct from Vonage Mobile to virtually any phone number on the planet. You can dial internationally without needing to activate special services with your mobile carrier. And most importantly, you can do this with the address book on your phone and your existing mobile number.

There is a cost associated with calling phones directly, but according to Vonage, the app offers international calling with per-minute rates that average 70 percent less than major mobile carriers and 30 percent less than Skype. This savings estimate is based on per-minute rates to the top 50 countries called. Billing is also more convenient, with payment integrated directly into your iTunes or Android Market account, instead of maintaining billing in a separate login.

To see a demo of the app, go check out the “Magic of Vonage Mobile” video on YouTube at the following link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaRcnY1xZxM

For those of you playing along at home, here is a quick feature recap:

  • Free domestic and international calls and texts to anyone with the Vonage Mobile app.
  • When calling a landline or phone directly, you get international calling with per-minute rates averaging 70% less than major mobile carriers and 30% less than Skype.
  • In-app credit purchases are tied directly to your iTunes or Android Market account.
  • Inviting multiple people right from your address book via SMS or email is easy.
  • Vonage Mobile automatically identifies contacts who already have the app.
  • Your mobile number double as your caller ID (so your friends won’t be surprised by an unfamiliar app-assigned number)
  • Works on Wi-Fi and 3G/4G worldwide.

If better call quality to any of your existing contacts isn’t enough to make you try out Vonage Mobile, there’s just one more thing you should know. Vonage is currently offering free calls from virtually anywhere in the world to the United States, Canada, or Puerto Rico. There are a few circumstances where free calling may not work, like business calls, premium and special service numbers, and satellite phones, but for the most part, free really means free. You also need to stay under 3000 minutes per month, but who talks that much anyway?

Download Vonage Mobile now and check it out on your iPhone or Android phone. Invite your family and friends so you have someone to text or call, then let us know what you think.

Win a 32GB iPad 2 with Vonage TimeToCall

[box]This contest is now closed[/box]

Hey, it’s time! In association with Vonage and their new TimeToCall app, I’m giving away a 32GB WiFi iPad2 to one lucky reader. There’s a heap more information about the TimeToCall application in my previous post.

The awesome thing about this competition is that if you don’t win my iPad2, you can enter to win at a bunch of other sites too. Heck, even if you do win my one, you can still enter to win more! Whoops! Turns out if you win my one, you’re ineligible for other draws, so don’t be greedy 🙂

On to the detail. There are two ways to enter, and you can do one or both:

  1. Add a comment below, telling us about your most amazing 15 minutes. Fact or fiction, I don’t mind.
  2. Post this short link on Twitter: http://nzben.tv/vonageipad and include the #TimeToCall hashtag so we can find it.

So, if you do both of these things, that’s two entries into the competition.

Conditions:

  1. Competition closes 11:59pm August 21st 2011.
  2. Competition open to New Zealand and Australia only.
  3. We’ll pay shipping, but any taxes or additional costs are the responsibility of the winner.
  4. One entry of each type (one comment, one tweet) per person – additional entries will void all your entries.
  5. Comment entries must include a valid email address (not displayed to the public).
  6. Winners will be drawn at random.
  7. Winners will be contacted via email or twitter. If no response is recieved in 48 hours from notification, another draw will be made.

[box]This contest is now closed[/box]

Vonage TimeToCall and a Huge iPad2 Giveaway

It appears that Voice over IP is making huge strides into the consumer space at the moment. What with my new Genius VoIP connection, and now this new TimeToCall app from Vonage, VoIP is truly become accessible to everyone’s granny.

TimeToCall takes a very different approach to VoIP billing: one charge for a 15 minute call, billed to your iTunes account. One price for landline or mobile calls up to 15 minutes in length. No bills at the end to month, no need to create an account, no need to visit a store or another web site to purchase calling cards. And your first call to overseas destinations is free!

If you’re someone that chats regularly with overseas colleagues, friends and family, TimeToCall looks like a pretty good option. You can place calls anywhere your iPhone or iPad can get a 3G connection in the US or Canada, or worldwide using WiFi.

Multiple Chances to Win an iPad 2

To get the word out, Vonage is partnering with a ton of blogs around the world to promote this app, and each blog will give away a 32GB iPad 2, using a competition of their own choice. And yes, ben.geek.nz is participating. You check out the full list of participating websites here. You’ll see at least two other kiwi options: Geekzone and iPhonewzealand. Keep an eye on the dates so you can enter the competitions. My competition will start next week, and Mauricio’s is running right now.

Check out how TimeToCall works in this video: