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fring for iPhone

An All-In-One messaging iPhone app

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An app to make phone calls from your iPhone... wait, what??

  • Feb 10, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+3
For the iPhone user who just can't bear to be away from their Instant Messaging, fring is the perfect solution.  Similar to Pidgin, Adium and Trillian, fring consolidates several messaging clients (AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Skype) into one app so you can chat with ALL your friends while away from your computer.  While the AOL for iPhone works great, fring adds the rest of the popular messaging apps.

The real potential of fring for me, however, is the support of "SIP" protocal.  I have a VOIP phone at home, and I can configure fring to allow me to make to outgoing calls from my iPhone which will appear like they are coming from my home phone.  More importantly, this means that I can make calls without using my cellular minutes and instead use the unlimited minutes on the home phone (ViaTalk, if anyone is interested).  Anywhere I have a WiFi signal, I can make free calls (even if there is no cellluar service).  This has huge potential for international travelling as once you can find a free hot spot, you can make all your calls to home for free.  If fring eventually supports this over the 3G network, you may never need to make a call against your cellular minutes again.

For a free app, fring does a lot, but it's not perfect.  I would love to be able to make SIP calls using my bluetooth headset, but this is not supported yet.  Also, while the call quality was passible on both ends, it wasn't great.  There is some inherint lag in VOIP, and it can make for some awkward timing during a call which prompted a few "you still there?" inquiries.  Another limitation is more specific to the the iPhone SDK, but since apps cannot run in the background, you need to leave fring open when you want to be able to receive messages.  Hopefully, Apple's promised "push" technology for apps will resolve this... if it ever gets released.  I should also point out that the app isn't always super speedy and it has actually crashed on me a few times -- particularly when searching contacts.  But while in a "chat" the app seemed solid.  Finally, I wasn't able to receive calls over the SIP, but that may still just require a bit more fiddling on my end to test out.

fring does a lot, and does a very decent job at what it does.  This is a great free app.




fring Add Ons screen fring Dialer fring chat window

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April 28, 2009
Great tip! I used this and was able to make phone calls from Thailand -- even easier than Skype. The only time I seemed to have a bad connection was when I had a bad wireless Internet signal. I was thrilled.
 
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Andrew ()
Ranked #2
I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more
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Wiki

fring is iPhone app that consolidates your instant message clients into one app.  It supports AOL, Yahoo Messaging, MSN Messaging, Google Talk and more.
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