Mobile VoIP That Isn’t

It’s no secret that the idea of “mobile VoIP” is pretty hot right now. There’s a lot of talk about it, and lots of products — many mobile front ends to Skype, others clever workarounds that connect standard voice calls to a VoIP network. But perhaps there’s a third group now: mobile VoIP that simply just isn’t.

Mobile content company ROK has been getting some press yesterday based on its new “free mobile VoIP” product. Look a little closer, though, and all the system turns out to be is software that makes certain mobile phones glorified Bluetooth headsets for a PC-based VoIP network. So yeah, it’s mobile, as long as you’re within Bluetooth range of a PC that’s within range of a broadband connection — and currently, users can only make calls to other users on the same system. And that gets marketed as “Free Mobile VoIP”.

So it looks like the bottom-feeders have set in, using the most tenuous of connections to label products as “mobile VoIP”, knowing it will grab some headlines. I’ve really got no problem with what this company is doing; if it works for them, great. It’s the pitching it as “Free Mobile VoIP” that’s a little across the line. But I guess “use your mobile as a Bluetooth headset for PC VoIP calls” (aka the truth) doesn’t sound quite so snappy.

[tags]mobile, voip, skype, rok[/tags]

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