VoIP is a hot form of communications for the savvy mobile consumer. Skype has millions of users, which shows how important VoIP has become to folks. While many mobile phones are capable of VoIP communications, many handset makers don’t promote that fact because of concerns about crossing the mobile carriers. The recent Google/Apple tussle over the banning of Google Voice from the iTunes App Store was reported to be instigated by AT&T.
The premiere iPod in Apple’s line of media players, the iPod touch has been described as an iPhone without the phone bits, and that’s pretty accurate — but it is capable of placing VoIP calls. The ability to have voice calls over the Internet for low cost or even free is easily done with the iPod touch due to the Wi-Fi functionality, but you don’t hear Apple selling that function. Doing so would raise the hackles of AT&T and Apple’s other carrier partners who, as a rule, don’t like the competition VoIP provides for their voice networks.
But do callers really need a carrier? If a company stepped in with a gadget similar to the iPod touch, equipped with heavily-promoted VoIP capabilities, such a device could be well received by the mobile crowd. A handset that trumpeted its ability to put “Skype in your pocket” (or a similar promotion) could be an instant hit with today’s cord-cutting consumers.
So, what would a compelling device look like?