Google on Tuesday announced that calls placed within the United States and Canada using Google Voice will continue to be free through the end of 2012. “This is our way of helping you connect with friends and family across the country,” Group Product Manager Vincent Paquet wrote on a company blog. Google stated last year that calls made within the U.S. and Canada would be free through 2011, but the company is extending the promotion through 2012 for reasons unknown. Google Voice was born from Google’s acquisition of GrandCentral in 2007, and the later acquisition of Gizmo5 in 2009 is expected to eventually add VoIP capabilities to the service. For the time being, VoIP calling is only supported from within Gmail. More →
Skype confirmed early Thursday morning that some users may experience connection issues signing into the service or making Skype calls. The company says it has identified the problem and has posted instructions for fixing the issue. The good news is it doesn’t look like the outage will be as massive as the one last December, which was later blamed on an overloaded cluster of support servers. If you’re experiencing issues now, hit the jump for some quick fix instructions from Skype. Just don’t blame it on Microsoft, alright?
Update: Skype says Windows users should update their client to the newest version for an immediate and easier fix. A Max OS X update is also on the way. More →
Microsoft is aiming to assuage the pains of mobile application developers looking to migrate their iOS applications from Apple’s mobile operating system to Windows Phone. “Launched today, the iPhone/iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool helps developers find their way around when they discover the Windows Phone platform,” writes Microsoft in a blog post. “Think of the API mapping tool as being like a translation dictionary.” The tool will allow iOS developers to easily find the equivalent API calls, classes, methods, and notification events in C#, as well as download working bits of sample code. “Don’t expect a mapping for all of the APIs, simply because the platforms are built upon different architectures and user interfaces,” the post continues. “For this first round we focused on identifying the one-to-one mapping when it exists. In the following versions we’ll expand the scope and anytime the concepts are similar enough, we’ll do our best to provide the appropriate guidance.” Microsoft’s tool can be found here. More →
In response to last week’s tsunami, AT&T has announced that its wireless customers, in the United States and Puerto Rico, can call or text Japan for free through March 31st. AT&T has also said it will not charge its wireless postpaid customers for international long distance calls or texts to Japan that were placed after March 11th. Similarly, AT&T wireline customers can seek credit for up to 60 minutes of direct calls placed to Japan during the March 11th to March 31st time period. Anyone who wishes to donate $10 to the Red Cross can do so by texting “redcross” to 90999. More →
The tinkering community that is xda-developers has managed to shoehorn the phone.apk Android module onto T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy Tab. Forum member Jyveafk has figured out how to flash the device, using Odin3, to allow calling over T-Mo’s EDGE network. In it’s current state, XDA cautions that the procedure is “for experienced flashers only.” If you’re the adventurous type, and give this a shot, let us know how you make out. More →
Blog 9to5Mac has picked up on an interesting bug in iOS 4.1, running on the iPhone, that will allow users to bypass the device’s lock screen and make phone calls. From a locked iPhone pressing the “Emergency Call” button, dialing a non-emergency number (such as “###”), then quickly pressing “Send” followed by the iPhone’s lock key will actually force the device into the “Phone” application. From there you can access favorites, contacts, the dial pad, recent calls, and voicemails. The “home” button remains inactive throughout the process, preventing users from jumping to the home screen, however… going to the “contacts” tab, selecting a contact, and clicking “Email” or “Share contact” will allow a bypasser to send emails and MMS messages.
The issue is reminiscent of a bug in Motorola’s BLUR interface that allows users to make calls using voice actions from a locked screen we told you about last week. We’ve passed the information on to Apple and, hopefully, a fix is included in the next software update. We have a short video demonstrating the bug after the break. More →
If you rely heavily on Google Voice, as we do, but don’t have an Android handset — preventing you from leveraging the superb Voice app — we have good news. Google has added the ability to send missed call notification emails directly to your email address of choice. As the Google Voice Blog explains: “Starting today, whenever you miss a call, you can see a notification in your Google Voice inbox, or receive an email notification, or both. This setting can be turned on and off from the Calls tab in the Settings menu.” The feature is live and ready to be used. Enjoy. More →
Google has released an update to its Android and BlackBerry Google Voice applications, and is promising faster connection times. As Google states, “Our mantra is faster = better.” Here’s how the updated clients will expedite calls:
Until today, the Google Voice app had to make a request to the Google Voice server every time you wanted to make a call to send us the phone number you wanted to dial. Then the call would be connected via a Google Voice access number. With direct access numbers, we assign a unique phone number to every person you call. This means that we no longer need to use your data network to access the server each time you make a call, so calls will be placed much faster.
We’ve got the rest of the press release queued up for you after the bounce. We’re curious, how many of you give out your Google Voice number exclusively? More →