Last year, Viber made a fair impact as an mobile app alternative to Skype VoIP. With a new technology partner on-board, could it now be about to go stellar?
Raised Voices Over IP
IP phone service Skype has had the field pretty much to itself in personal and SMB VoIP calls, with mobile playing a growing part of the market. While big telecommunications firms have their own VoIP brands for enterprises, the name and awareness of Skype have seen it dominate in the smaller spaces.
Now though, here comes Viber and its new partner, SPIRIT DSP, a provider of voice and video over IP engine technology -- in fact, it powers a lot of the big-name enterprise services. The pair have announced today that TeamSpirit's Voice Engine Mobile is the driving force behind a new Viber iPhone app that offers free HD Voice calls.
A Good Vibe?
Viber pulled more than a million downloads for its free app within a few days of launch late last year, offering free calls over 3G and Wi-Fi, with the advantage of needing to use only your phone number as a login, avoiding the whole username/password scheme. It checks your phone directory and will highlight other Viber users, saving on call costs.
To create your account, you enter your phone number, get sent an SMS with a verification code and use that. Then your contacts list appears with other Viber users highlighted. The new app offers HD Voice quality calls, depending on available bandwidth that improves the quality of voice definition and resolves call problems. SPIRIT's technology helps by working to iron out most of the technical issues that can crop up with IP networks, including network congestion, voice echo, noise suppression, latency, delay (jitter), packet loss and lip synchronization (in video calls).
HD Voice is a fairly low-key technology, as the plain old phone line is pretty good for most users. But, it is one that could enter into its own over time, offering better audio definition -- ideal for uses such as group conferences and automatic translation.
Viber could help push the technology along. The app will soon be available for Android, BlackBerry and other devices. Will Viber take over from Skype? It has a long way to go, but the better technology could help give it a big shove in the right direction.
We might also see a video calling product emerge from this partnership, as SPIRIT has 4G video technology up and running.