Finally Truphone for Blackberry Is Ready

22 Comments

Truphone, the service that allows you to make cheap long distance phone calls using VoIP technology on a mobile phone, is now available to users of BlackBerry devices as a beta offering. This product is called Truphone Anywhere for Blackberry.

London-based Truphone’s service, which typically uses Wi-Fi connections for VoIP calls, has so far been available on the Symbian OS-based Nokia devices and Apple’s iPhone. The service doesn’t support Windows Mobile for now.

I downloaded early versions of the software on two WiFi-enabled BlackBerry devices — the 8801 and T-Mobile Curve — and it worked fine on both the devices. It was fairly easy to download the Truphone software using Blackberry’s built-in browser, and I installed it without many problems. Upon installation, it asked me if my device had Wi-Fi or not. (In case of non WiFi-enabled devices, Truphone behaves like any other callback service. )

As part of the sign-up process, I tried to use my existing Truphone account, but I ran into trouble, since it was tied to my Nokia device. So rather than jumping through hoops, I opted for a new account. The lack of seamless switching between devices and accounts is Truphone’s Achilles heel, in my opinion. When I tried the service on iPhone I had to sign up fora new account, as well. I think, as a company, Truphone needs to make an effort to reduce the number of steps between the download and setting up the service.

If you get past the minor setup hurdles, Truphone works as advertised. I am not sure what it says about the cell phone networks, but Truphone calls sounded clearer. The tight integration of the service with my Blackberry address book makes it dead simple to use, especially when making those international long distance calls. The service is smart enough to route your calls to whatever network is cheaper – GSM or Truphone’s service. This is what makes the BlackBerry version better than the Truphone version for the iPhone, which is not as intuitive.

For Truphone, the BlackBerry client could be the final push the company needs to become a major player in the U.S., where RIM’s devices are more popular than in Europe where Nokia is the market leader. Now, if it could figure local numbers that folks here in the U.S. could actually remember, it might become almost invaluable.

P.S.: 100 GigaOM Readers can get the early beta version of Truphone for BlackBerry by visiting this web site.

22 Comments

Mike

najeeb is right! When I dial a long distance number, it asks me if I want to use truphone or GSM. I choose Truphone and the call goes through GSM to the TruPhone service and then they dial the long distance number. It’s back end processing!!! I never would have figured that on my own. I’m glad I found this site!

Jasmine

How can the application “know” if the GSM calls are cheaper than the Truphone service?
after all, every one has a different deal from the operator..

straubventures

Truphone Anywhere, the application now released for the blackberry, is one of the features I use most often on my nokia E65. As most owners of smartphones have huge minute bundles anyway, the bundle is almost the same as the WiFi: The leg into the IP cloud is essentially free! (Voice quality and coolness factor on WiFi is much higher, though)

90% of my phone bill used to be international calls, which truphone reduced by at least 90%, saving me hundreds of pounds monthly. Sure, I could have used Skype or other methods – but truth is: I did not want to change my normal behaviour of simply-dialing-from-the-address-book.

A more holistic analysis can be found on our blog at http://www.straubventures.com (as we are not only fans, but also supporters of the business).

Stefan

sandi

Yes, it does not use wifi to make calls. Doing some backend processing…

najeeb

I don’t think it is doing voip straight from the phone, it is doing probably in the backend. Technically not different from a callback service. Some more truth in reporting please..

arZan

Agree with #1 about rates. To India….where I would call the most…its 10 cents to a land line and 50 cents to a mobile. Way too high.

charlie

truphone will NEVER be a major player in the US until they reduce their prices. Truphone is aimed at the euro traveller dealing with roaming in Europe. Good market. But their international calling rates are the same as AT&T / Verizon. Slightly cheaper than T-mobile and don’t know about Sprint. Truphone can save you money on roaming while in Europe — but that is a much smaller market than Europeans traveling within Europe.

$5 a month for unlimited international calling would accelerate them in the US, but they won’t do it.

it’s a shame because I pay $2.50 a month to VOIPBUSTERS for unlimited calling to Europe, and I would be willing to pay twice that for Truphone’s much nicer customer service and interface. However, there also need to be an option to turn truphone off — on my Nokia battery life went up by 5x when I removed the truphone settings.

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