Google Voice for iPhone hands-on!

By on November 16, 2010 at 3:17 PM.

Google Voice for iPhone hands-on!

Apple finally approved (or accepted) Google’s official Google Voice app for the iPhone just minutes ago, and while 3rd party versions of the software were allowed back in a couple months ago, sometimes there isn’t anything like the official version. We messed around with the app and here are some of our initial thoughts:

  • We love how straight forward the app is to use. You’d think this would be the case for any application, but Google really nails the usability angle here.
  • Dialing a number quickly and efficiently is the most important part of a phone calling app, and since you have to manually switch to another app and not the iPhone phone app, you don’t want to waste more time by jumping around tabs, and different screen views. On here, hit the dialer tab, and you’re ready to dial. Also of note: Google Voice for iPhone makes use of outbound dialing, so you never have to wait for an incoming call to ring your phone, you just “dial out”.
  • One major issue with Google Voice’s web apps and iPhone-optimized website, was that the experience was kind of lousy. You’d want to dial or shoot a quick text message off but couldn’t due to the fact the entire UI was in Safari, thus it scrolled around, sometimes would be a little delayed, etc. The app provides very quick access to SMS creation and sending, especially for conversations not yet started. This is important here, because the faster these tasks get, the more people will use Google Voice and centralize their calling/texting habits and behaviors.
  • The inbox view is great — you have all your voicemails, incoming calls, missed calls, text messages and recorded calls in one neat, and super clean-looking list. You can also manually view just a specific category like voicemails or text message if you’d like, however.
  • Push notifications on here are lightning fast, and are so, so necessary.

All in all, this is close enough to an integrated experience like Android offers to make iPhone-using Google Voice users extremely happy. Now if they could only work on their voicemail transcriptions… Check out our hands on photos in the gallery!

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AT&T launches smartphone voicemail-viewer for U-verse residential customers

By on October 1, 2010 at 11:22 AM.

AT&T launches smartphone voicemail-viewer for U-verse residential customers

Today, AT&T announced the launch of the AT&T Voicemail Viewer application for U-verse smartphones users. As AT&T explains, “Much like an email inbox, the Voicemail Viewer app lists your home voicemail messages and allows you to choose the order in which you wish to listen to them. The app also provides a notification when a new voicemail arrives on your home phone, plus the ability to delete voicemails remotely.” The press release does not specify which smartphone platforms will be supported; navigating to att.com/vmviewer and entering a phone number — as instructed in the press release — results in a 404 error. Pristine. Anyway, it sounds like pretty a cool service for residential U-verse subscribers, thoughts?

UPDATE: AT&T has provided an alternate link for those interested in looking at the service: https://www.um.att.com/vmviewer. The application currently supports BlackBerry and iOS devices. More →

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Make the Old Spice Man your cell phone voicemail

By on July 15, 2010 at 12:02 PM.

Make the Old Spice Man your cell phone voicemail

Old Spice VM Generator

The Old Spice Man (you know, the guy “on a horse”) has been making rounds on the internet the last few days, and he stopped by online community Reddit to answer user questions. One question/request was: we need your audio to build our own voicemail messages. And so the Old Spice Man voicemail generator was born. If you’re bored, hit up the read link to generate your own custom Old Spice voicemail. This voicemail is now diamonds! Do do do doot doo do do dooot. More →

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Google Voice now available without an invite

By on June 22, 2010 at 1:35 PM.

Google Voice now available without an invite

Screen shot 2010-06-22 at 10.06.12 AM

Wave wasn’t the only Google service to be opened up to the public this week, as Google has now lifted its invite only restriction on its popular Google Voice service. It’s still only available to residents of the United States, but now the only thing standing between you and: free calls, free SMS messages (to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada), voice mail transcripts, and having one number for all of your phones is logging into voice.google.com with your Google account and picking out a number. More →

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How WIND Mobile changed Canada in less than 24 hours

By on December 16, 2009 at 1:10 PM.

How WIND Mobile changed Canada in less than 24 hours

wind-angel-alt

For our non-Canadian readers, it might be pretty hard to understand why there’s been so much hype about WIND Mobile finally launching. It is just a cell phone carrier after all, right? Kind of. It is a business at the end of the day, and a business hopes to be profitable (they want to make as much money possible), but the reason WIND is so brilliant is because they’re capitalizing on years of pillaging by Canada’s big three mobile providers: Rogers, TELUS and Bell. We’re not going to get into why Canada’s cellular options are so bad and expensive — Canada is a huge country, 90% of the people live within a certain amount of miles to the U.S. border, people expect coverage everywhere, it’s expensive to maintain — because it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how revolutionary WIND is to the average Canadian cellular subscriber and how much money that person will save. Here’s an example of a standard Rogers phone bill for a BlackBerry:

  • $45/month for 400 minutes, unlimited calling after 9PM, and a choice of either unlimited Rogers-to-Rogers calling, my5, unlimited SMS, or an extra $100 minutes. Let’s assume you chose unlimited Rogers-to-Rogers calling.
  • $25/month for a 500MB data plan for your BlackBerry (BIS not BES)
  • $20/mo for unlimited SMS, caller ID and voicemail for a smartphone
  • Total with fees of around $93/month (excluding taxes).

Over the life of your cell phone contract of three years (yes, it’s three years in Canada), you’ll have paid approximately $3348 to Rogers, and you’d have a brand new BlackBerry 9700 for which you paid $249.99 for. All in all, $3597 before tax. Here’s a WIND plan:

  • $45/month for unlimited minutes, unlimited SMS to U.S. and Canada, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding
  • $35/month for unlimited BlackBerry data

We’re at $80/month with unlimited everything, no contract, and no fees to change plans or features.

Sure, a difference of only plus or minus $13/month might not get everyone excited, but think of it this way… you don’t have to pay $500 to cancel your contract, you can elect to pre or post-pay, and never have to ever worry about overages unless you’ve got a lot of pals overseas. The option of unlimited anything is a downright comforting thought for consumers. As long as you can get over the $200 additional entry fee for an unsubsidized but very fairly-priced handset (note: Rogers charges $599.99 for a contract-free Bold 9700 as opposed to WIND’s $450), WIND looks incredibly attractive. Plus, you won’t get tied to the tree and spanked. Metaphorically, of course.

It isn’t all rainbows and ponies, however, as we have to take coverage (when you roam on Rogers, for instance, you’ll only get EDGE as WIND uses the same AWS 3G spectrum T-Mobile uses and is incompatible with Rogers, TELUS, and Bell), customer service, and profitability into consideration. The bet is that WIND makes so much that they can continue to save you money. Funny, isn’t it? Again, they’re a brand, brand new network, but with a boatload of cash behind them, some very smart and attractive pricing, plans, devices, and services, we think they have an amazing shot. They’ve also permanently disrupted the Canadian wireless landscape for the better, and within days or weeks, you’ll start to see better pricing from red, green, and blue. Thus giving our Canadian friends something they’ve long hoped for — competition.

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WIND Mobile's price plans leak out

By on December 12, 2009 at 8:33 AM.

WIND Mobile's price plans leak out

wind-logo

One day after it was announced that WIND Mobile is allowed to launch its network without without delay, Canadians across the country are still giddy with excitement as they anticipate the impending launch of the nation’s fourth major wireless carrier. And while WIND has yet to publicly announce plan pricing (or a specific launch date, for that matter), HowardForums user Windsider has publishing what is claimed to be the official plans and their respective pricing. So without further ado, hit the jump to check out the plans; they’re impressive to say the least.

Thanks to everyone that sent this in! More →

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Official Google Voice app launching today for both Android and BlackBerry

By on July 15, 2009 at 7:59 AM.

Official Google Voice app launching today for both Android and BlackBerry

Third-party apps be damned as Google is getting ready to launch the official Google Voice application for both Android and BlackBerry platforms. We knew it was coming of course — it was just a matter of when. The news comes straight from the mouth of Google Voice’s Vincent Paquet who says the application will not only allow Google Voice users to place calls on their devices and have recipients’ calls display the Google Voice number, but it will also make it possible to view voicemail transcripts within the application as opposed to through the mobile web. Unfortunately, no word on SMS integration. We do have to wonder when the company plans to finish off the massive backlog of invites and maybe even open the service up to the public. Oh and while GV Mobile has done a terrific job of tiding us over on the iPhone, we’re definitely anxious to see if Google can match its functionality or even exceed it (push notifications for SMS and voicemails?) with its own app.

UPDATE: As of about 9am EDT, the BlackBerry app is now available for OTA download at http://m.google.com/voice

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

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Google Voice close to public launch, but not today

By on June 18, 2009 at 10:39 AM.

Google Voice close to public launch, but not today

Following our report yesterday, it looks like we can now confirm Google Voice will not be opening up to the public today. Dry those eyes though — it should be happening soon. To recap, Google has kept its voice communications/SMS management service in private beta since it acquired the service, then branded as GrandCentral. Everyone who uses it loves it, and everyone who doesn’t have it wants it. Cnet’s Natali Del Conte suggested in a podcast yesterday that her source at Google pinned today as the official public launch. We got excited. When Google Voice head Craig Walker was asked about our report however, he tweeted that his team is indeed working towards public availability but today isn’t going to happen. It’s ok, Google Voice team, we’re not trying to rush you. Just know that an army of anxious users is waiting in the wings, ready to stretch out those servers at a moment’s notice.

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Google Voice to support number portability

By on March 28, 2009 at 4:17 PM.

Google Voice to support number portability

Google Voice is a service that has tremendous potential and as such, we’ll be watching it closely over the months to come. Last week, we showed you the service’s current mobile capabilities and posed a few ideas in terms of where Google could potentially take Google Voice. Interpret this however you wish, but further details were discovered this week that could certainly support some big plans:

We’re excited to count you among our users, and we want to continue to earn your business every day. We don’t lock you into minimum commitment contracts, charge you activation fees, or make it impossible for you to leave. If you want to move to another service provider and take your Google number with you, you can do so at any time.

  • Your ability to transfer your Google number to another service provider usually depends on the providers, and whether they’ll support your number.
  • If your provider supports porting over your Google number, please contact your provider’s customer service department for instructions.

Yep, Google Voice supports number porting. For the time being, only exiting users are able to port their numbers away from the service but a support page suggests Google is currently working on setting up incoming porting as well. As the service stands now, porting an existing number over to Google Voice doesn’t seem to make much sense — all the more reason to believe Google has some pretty grand ideas moving forward. If you’re a current account holder, definitely take a look through the support pages as Google seems very open about receiving feedback and molding at least some aspects of the service after the needs and wants of its users.

[Via IntoMobile]

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Visual Voicemail with Transciptions from PhoneTag; Extended Trial for BGR Readers

By on July 16, 2008 at 11:49 AM.

Visual Voicemail with Transciptions from PhoneTag; Extended Trial for BGR Readers

Earlier this month we told you about a great service from a company called PhoneTag. Competing with the likes of SpinVox Voicemail-to-Text and GotVoice G2 Voicemail-to-Text, PhoneTag provides a service that converts your voicemails to text and delivers them to your handset. No longer do you need to dial into a voicemail system to listen to your voicemails; just read them! We like that there are several companies offering this service as competition is rarely a bad thing for the consumer. Amidst it all however, there is something special that sets PhoneTag apart from the pack: SimulSays. SimulSays is PhoneTag’s beta application for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile that combines that best of both worlds – think iPhone Visual Voicemail with integrated voicemail transcriptions! You see a list of all of your calls and associated voicemail audio files are automatically downloaded to the phone. The list however, also includes the first line of each voicemail transcription. Select any message in the list and you’ll be brought to a screen with the full transcription and a player that will allow you to listen to the message if you so chose. Yep, best of both worlds! SimulSays is free for PhoneTag customers and the pricing breaks down like this:

  • Tag per message: $0.35/message
  • Tag40 (40 transcriptions/month): $9.95
  • TagUnlimited (unlimited transcriptions/month): $29.95

PhoneTag offers a free 7 day trial to make sure you’re game before you start paying, but wait! BGR readers can have a special extended 30 day trial period so that there’s absolutely no doubt before you start forking over that hard-earned cash. To get the party started just hit the read link below and sign up. Then from your mobile browser, go to mobile.simulsays.com to download the latest beta and you’re good. Note that PhoneTag can be used with any handset while the SimulSays beta app is limited to the Blackberry Curve (AT&T), 8800 (AT&T or T-Mobile), Pearl (AT&T or T-Mobile) and any Windows Mobile Smartphone.

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SpinVox: Building a Voice-driven Empire one Mobile User at a Time

By on May 30, 2008 at 6:22 AM.

SpinVox: Building a Voice-driven Empire one Mobile User at a Time

Maybe it’s the cool-factor, maybe it’s the novelty, maybe it’s the crazy little “SpinVox Mobsters” pictured above or maybe it’s the sheer convenience; whatever the case may be, SpinVox is growing by leaps and bounds. Just last month the company announced the completion of a new funding round in excess of $100 million, bringing SpinVox’s current valuation to over $500 million. What’s all the fuss about? Until you take a few minutes to sample the SpinVox service for yourself, you simply just won’t get it. The backbone of SpinVox’s portfolio is speech-to-text but hey, that’s nothing new. The efficiency, accuracy and implementation are among factors that separate SpinVox from the pack. Ok ok, so what do they do?

More →

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