I still remember writing snail mail to my dad when I was kid and he on one of his many business trips. Those were the days we also had trunk call for connecting long distance calls and wait for the operator to connect the call. Just a decade back, when I was dating my wife back then, we used to exchange emails and wait for the reply, then came the ‘Yahoo’ chat to rescue and technology just got better and better since then in a quicker pace. It makes an interesting and fascinating conversation with my son when I tell him how we communicated back then. It looks a distant past now even if it is just couple of years. There are many calling apps which makes voice communication convenient as well as economical for travelers to stay connected. Here we look at some of the best calling apps available now.
It’s not for no reason, Microsoft trusted with its $8.5 billion to acquire Skype. The name has been almost synonymous with video call, though it now faces some serious competition from some of the apps we have listed here. In addition to Skype-to-Skype calls, you can also call mobiles and landlines around the world by buying Skype credits, which is still works out to be cheaper than the operator’s call charges. Apart from the ubiquitous instant messaging service, it also has little known features like screen casting, hot keys etc.
An app that can give Skype a serious run for money and has a good call quality too. The recently announced Viber Out will allow the user to buy credits to call any phone number even if the receiver does not have viber installed. A service similar to what Skype offers. Viber is reported to have more than 400 million installs and India is one of its key market boasting some 40 million user base.
Viber has presence in multiple platforms, including desktop, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and offers some interesting stickers around 7,000 and counting to add a dash of quirkiness to its IM when you don’t want to make calls via the app.
If you thought $8.5 billion on Skype was insane, Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition would have totally blown you but there is a reason for the madness. WhatsApp with 800 million users is a gold mine for any social company. Though Facebook had its own Messenger service, the enormous user base of WhatsApp and mass adoption is too compelling. Then came the WhatsApp calling feature, though personally I still use the app for messaging, I keep getting many calls of late on the WhatsApp. The trend is growing and this one app is indispensable. The interface is simple and no frills.
This one is strictly for apple to apple talk and in that scenario it works call perfect. If you want to talk to a person who is an Android user, you have no other choice but use another calling app. With Android cornering 80% market share, most probably you have big list of your contact list on Android world.
Facetime is amazing but cannot be the sole calling app on your iPhone.
Availability: strictly iOS
Shall we hangout? Sure but hey where are everyone? Google is trying hard to bring the crowd outside the tech community to its Hangout service. Google Hangouts now integrates Google Voice, which is its phone service, and Google Chat, the messaging service. So it is possible to dial any number from the same platform and also text messages.
If you are an Android user and living outside China, you probably use half a dozen Google services already but still its surprising Google Voice is yet to gain steam.