What are VoIP Apps?
Our smartphones do just about everything these days, but sometimes you still have to make a plain old phone call on them. And added on top of texting and data plans, voice minutes can get expensive. That's where VoIP apps come in.
Because of today's higher data speeds, VoIP is a legitimate calling option when you want to save money on calls from your Android, iPhone, or iPad. These apps work best with 3G connections or better, and many of them act as a great backup option for your business phone system.
A word of warning, however: if you frequently have dropped calls, you may have problems with VoIP too. When this is the case, you can still use your VoIP apps with WiFi to do away with that problem. Here are 10 of today's coolest VoIP apps, listed alphabetically.
1. Beejive. Beejive is a top mobile chat application that not only supports VoIP calls and multiple chat clients, but plenty of other useful tools. This iPhone app uses transparent overlay text so you can see your conversation and not lose track of your message. It also has push notification for up to seven days.
2. Fring. Fring is a straightforward competitor to Skype, but instead of offering unlimited call plans, it charges on a per-minute basis at very low rates. Fring can also be used as a SIP client, which can be used for initiating, modifying, or terminating two-party or multi-party sessions. Fring is a solid choice in today's VoIP apps.
3. iCall. iCall is a favorite app for making VoIP calls, allowing free VoIP calling in the United States and Canada. With iCall you get push notifications when you receive a call. This app also offers inexpensive international calls, and users have the choice of using a paid service that skips a 30-second ad at the beginning of a call.
4. JaJah. JaJah is a simple download that gives you access to services that integrate easily with your phone book. If you want to make a call, you log in and select who you're calling. You can call JaJah users as well as Facebook users for free. Other calls are billed at low rates regardless of location.
5. Line2. The Line2 app has unlimited SMS and offers a free 30-day trial (and bills at $9.95 per month afterward). Line2 adds a second number to your iPhone, which is great if you want a dedicated number for work. You can cancel without penalty and the service is billed to your credit card rather than your iTunes account.
6. Nimbuzz. Nimbuzz is yet another all-inclusive app. It supports several chat clients and VoIP options. You can use free calling, file sharing, and messaging on your smart phone, browser, or desktop, and you can import your friends from Facebook, Windows Live, Yahoo, and GoogleTalk.
7. Skype. Skype is basically synonymous with VoIP. The quality is great, it's easy to use, and it's cheap. Skype's iOS app does everything that Skype on your laptop or desktop does, such as making calls over WiFi or 3G. It also offers instant messaging and video chat. Calls to other Skype users are free, but you can add the inexpensive SkypeOut plan for flat-rate calls to anyone in your country who doesn't use Skype.
8. Talkatone. Talkatone uses Gmail VoIP to let you place free calls on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch as long as you have a Google Voice account. Users find it easy to set up. You simply enter your Google Voice information, set your Google Voice line to forward to Google Chat, and you're done.
9. Truphone. Truphone offers both a pay-as-you-go plan and an unlimited plan. If you make lots of international calls from the U.S., the unlimited plan includes calls to 35 destinations at no charge. You also get low-cost text messages, free calling to Skype and GoogleTalk, free IM, and free Voicemail.
10. Viber. Viber is a popular app that does not require you to create an account, hand over your credit card information, or even create a username. However, to call someone free, they also need to have Viber. Your Viber minutes are only used if you call someone who doesn't have Viber. Viber is ad-free, and you can call anyone in the world who has the same app.