Review: Vonage's Time to Call App#
Post By Steve "fyiguy" Hughes

Back in the day I used to be a Vonage customer, due to its free national and international calling we had for both a home business and personal use. At the time for us it was the best and cheapest phone service to use, but as we sold off our business we no longer had a need for the business line and we were offered free IP service via our Comcast bundle. I still miss the ability to make international calls and Vonage now offers an affordable alternative to make international telephone calls without having to be a Vonage customer, but as a pay as you go customer. One of the downsides of having an iPad or iPod Touch is that there is no way to make a phone call, unless it was via Skype or or some other application that just didn’t quite have the sound quality of an actual phone call and most calls experienced buffering and dropped calls. Vonage’s Time to Call App for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad offers that alternative.


Using Time to Call

The way Time to Call works is similar to a pay phone (you remember those) in that you purchase 15 minute blocks of calling time via an in-app purchase with the Apple iTunes store(instead of inserting coins) so you don’t have to give Vonage any of your credit card details or personal information. You basically select the country you wish to call and then you are given a rate to make the call which varies from country to country. You then dial the number on the keypad given much like the phone dialer on any modern smartphone today and you should then be connected to any phone number as if you were calling directly from your phone.


The app works both over WiFi and 3G (if you device has the capability) remarkably very well and surprisingly very clear. When I tried calling several a few family members via the Time to Call app that are located in various countries throughout the world, each call was as clear as if I had the call on my standard telephone line. In fact, the quality was very good with no dropped calls, in my opinion and those I was conversing with on the other end said that the call was much clearer than the many Skype calls I had with the same family members in the past with out any of the normal delays or buffering we usually experienced when using Skype.

If you travel a lot internationally using this app is much easier and cheaper than purchasing calling cards or SIM cards at airports, kiosks, or hotel lobbies. In the past, that more than likely would have deterred me from even make the phone call. Now as a traveller with the Vonage Time to Call app I now have a very easy to use and affordable option.


  • Pay per call and talk up to 15 minutes to 100 countries for $1.99 or less
  • For an additional 90+ countries, talk up to 15 minutes for $2.99 to $9.99
  • Works on Wi-Fi worldwide
  • Also for use on high quality 3G networks² in the U.S. and Canada
  • Significant savings over mobile carrier rates
  • FREE download
  • For a limited time, each download includes a FREE call of up to 15 minutes to landlines and mobile phones in any one of 100 countries. Activate your FREE call to take advantage of this offer. No purchase necessary.**NO PURCHASE REQUIRED!

When I first tried the Vonage Time to Call app I was a bit skeptical, but after using it I was thoroughly impressed with the call quality and ease of use. Another thing is if you are good at monitoring your time on your calls, unused minutes are usable for additional calls. I also like the fact that you know how much the call will cost you when it ends and you won’t be surprised when you monthly bill comes around and a few expletives fly as well as an unexpected a hit on your finances.

The Time to Call app is free and is available now in the iTunes store here.

TTC Info

For more information on the app you can head directly to the Vonage page here.

An Android version is coming soon and if you are a Facebook users there is also another option available to you called Vonage Talk Free on Facebook worth checking out.

We will also be giving away an Apple iPad 2 as part of the Vonage Time to call contest with 75 other technical blogs.

** Limited time offer for first calls placed to landlines and mobile phones in any one of 100 countries using the Time to Call iPhone app. You must activate your free call before this offer ends by clicking the “Try it for Free” button on the country plan page within the app. Free call expires one year from activation. Eligible countries include: American Samoa, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Bhutan, Brazil, Brunei, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, French Guiana, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Martinique, Mexico, Mongolia, Montserrat, Mozambique, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nigeria, Northern Mariana Islands, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Trinidad And Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, US Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Vatican City (Holy See), Venezuela, Vietnam, Zambia.

iPad | iPhone | Reviews
8/21/2011 7:44:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback


Is Steve Jobs Sending a Message To ALL Cross-Platform Development Vendors?#
Post By Don Sorcinelli

By now, many may have heard about or read in full Steve Jobs’ “Thoughts on Flash” statement released yesterday. While much of what was written in the statement (and discussed around the Internet) was specific to Adobe and Flash, a statement by Jobs in the section entitled “Sixth, the most important reason”, can have a far broader effect on mobile device development -

“We know from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform. If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.

This becomes even worse if the third party is supplying a cross platform development tool. The third party may not adopt enhancements from one platform unless they are available on all of their supported platforms. Hence developers only have access to the lowest common denominator set of features. Again, we cannot accept an outcome where developers are blocked from using our innovations and enhancements because they are not available on our competitor’s platforms.”

While the context in which this is spoken is in relation to Flash, the term “cross-platform development tool” can also be aimed at cross-platform development platforms as well. Many of you may not be aware that there are development platforms oriented towards developing in one language and deploying across mobile devices. These tools are becoming extremely enticing for enterprises in two scenarios -

  1. A business desires to build consumer-facing applications (mobile banking, for example). In these cases, where the business has little to no control over what devices their customers are using, developing separate versions of a single application to support a variety of mobile phones can be a very costly endeavor.
  2. A business supports multiple mobile device platforms and wishes to deploy line of business applications. Different cause than #1, but same net effect; having to consider multiple versions of the same application or applications.

For these scenarios, a multi-platform mobile device development tool/technology can greatly reduce initial and ongoing development costs. Is Steve Jobs saying, however, that these types of tools should not make it to the iPhone and iPad? The reason I ask this question is – some already are there today.

There are several companies that currently support the iPhone as one of the mobile devices to target with their development platforms. Based on Jobs’ rationale, these types of applications have no business on the iPhone. the same risks he describes with Flash apply with these platforms as well. Do these platforms run the risk of future exclusion based upon Jobs’ stance on Flash?

I have always been a major proponent of developing in “native code” when it comes to mobile devices. The benefits are obvious, as Steve Jobs points out. However, I am also a realist. The real world of mobility consists of more than just the iPhone, contrary to some popular beliefs ;-) From a business perspective, there are often times when you cannot choose to develop for just one platform without hurting your business. At the same time, developing natively for multiple platforms is simply not economical, be it for time or resource reasons. In such cases, the only effective solution is to have a platform that allows for one application developed, multiple platforms supported.

I can see taking the position of rigorous testing and certification for applications written for multiple platforms to ensure meeting acceptable performance and usability. Actually, I thought that was the purpose of the iPhone application submission process. Taking a rather Draconian stance on the issue, however, puts a few vendors and a lot of enterprises in quite a bind. Ironically, this may result in some companies choosing to support a lot of mobile devices… except for the iPhone (at least until such time as an iPhone version of the application can be developed and maintained apart from the “everyone else” version of the application).

Maybe I’m causing a bit of a “tempest in a teapot” here. Maybe the arguments Steve Jobs brought forth in his “letter” are really only intended for Adobe and Flash. If that is the case, though, it would be a bit of a double-standard. If Jobs is serious about third-party multi-platform development tools and the iPhone and iPad, the ramifications could be pretty large. It will be interesting to watch how this develops in the coming months.

4/29/2010 2:35:58 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00) #     |  Trackback


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