Unified Communications Featured Article

VoX Communications Steps Up Android Mobile VoIP App with Video Calling

February 11, 2013

The push for WebRTC as of late has given something of a new urgency to video calling in general. With companies like Skype already having a product out, and WebRTC looking to bring browser-to-browser video calling to the mainstream, it's clear that video calling is set to step up into the mainstream.

With that in mind, it's not too surprising to see VoX Communications add free video calling to its Android mobile VoIP app.

The VoX Communications Android mobile VoIP app can be found for Kindle Fire tablets of any stripe in the Amazon App Store, and according to reports, over a billion different devices can currently use the VoX VoIP app.

The app can also be found on Google Play and on the Samsung App Store, opening the floodgates as far as device counts go.

Subscribers will get access to VoX's "Pay And Go" plans, which allow users to pay only for the amount of service they wish to use as opposed to paying for a block every month. VoX users can subscribe directly from the phone or tablet from which they wish to use the app, and can even choose a U.S.-based phone number without ever leaving the confines of the app itself.

Video calling, however, seems to be limited to the Amazon store for the time being. Mark Richards, chief information officer for VoX Communications, had a wide array of reasons behind the company's plan to bring video calling first to Amazon. The primary reason was to use those devices as a way to get feedback for improvement of the app itself.

Once VoX was able to "predict an exceptional and sustainable user experience," said Richards, it would launch the app for Google Play.

But the focus on Android apparently came from Google's use of the VP8 codec, which VoX supports. Coupled with a sound environment – like Android's Jelly Bean version backed up by a multi-core processor – the result is an experience that Richards called "ready for prime time."

But it's worth noting, as Richards did, that all devices, and not all VoIP, "are created equal," so there will likely be plenty of room for tweaking the experience to ensure that it works across as much of the array of Android devices as is possible.

Considering a recent report from Juniper Research that suggests mobile video calling will clear 160 million users by 2017 – as well as the steady rise of WebRTC as mentioned earlier – it's clear that video calling is becoming less a toy of science fiction and more a powerful tool for communications that a growing number of users are embracing.

With video calling, and video calling on mobile devices becoming a steadily larger part of the user experience, the issue of providing the bandwidth necessary is going to fall squarely on the shoulders of the current service providers. They'll be hard pressed to either launch massive upgrade projects – while keeping costs as low as humanly possible – or risk explaining to their customers why they don't have access to the new services they want to be using in the first place.

The rise in online use in general – from cloud computing to VoIP to mobile VoIP and beyond – is poised to change the landscape in communications in ways that many likely haven't even considered. Only time will tell what the ultimate impact of services like VoX Communications' mobile video calling app will look like, but it's likely to be impressive when it hits.

Edited by Braden Becker

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