The best type of mobile applications are the ones capable of saving us money.
Apps like TextPlus have eliminated the need to pay for text messaging and as of last summer, Vonage launched a free VOIP app for chatting with Facebook friends enabling users to talk for free — no long distance charges or wireless minutes used. We’ve found a similar app that also offers free calling to Facebook friends but this one brings more features and doesn’t require a connection to 3G or WiFi.
F**k it, we'll do it live!
Our biggest ever edition of TNW Conference is fast approaching! Join 10,000 tech leaders this May in Amsterdam.
KipCall is an iPhone app that will assist you in calling your Facebook friends for free while keeping your phone number completely private.
Unlike VOIP apps such as Vonage, KipCall uses its product called MobileGlobe to connect the call over PSTN (public switched telephone network) which doesn’t carry calls over an Internet connection. KipCall finances the cost of the calls by placing a small banner ad within the app that appears when you initiate a conversation through the app.
In order to call one of your Facebook buddies, they’ll first need to download the app on the iPhone and register their phone number. This however doesn’t mean you can’t receive incoming calls on your landline as well. In other words, users are only able to make outgoing calls from the iPhone if the wireless phone number coincides with the device. But to receive incoming calls, you can setup the iPhone app with any phone number you wish –even a landline.
Once you’ve got a friend to download the app, you’ll be able call or text chat with them, post on their Facebook wall or alternatively send them a message via email. There’s another cool feature that will display any friends around you within a 0.6 mile radius.
Is someone bugging you? Within the user profile screens anyone of your friends can also be blocked. This move will stop the individual from reaching you via KipCall and it won’t show them your location either.
There’s a variety of ways to view and organize your friends. The filter feature includes the option to view Facebook friends by age, relationship status and gender. We’re thinking this feature was specifically designed for those KipCall users looking for love. It additionally offers a filter to only display your friends that use KipCall.
Call quality is a difficult thing to determine and the experience will vary depending on whether both users are on the iPhone. On our test call, we rerouted the incoming call to an Android device because we didn’t have a live sim in the iPhone. And, as we’d mentioned you’re also able to reroute incoming calls to landlines.
Compared to Vonage for Facebook (VOIP), the call was not quite as clear and there did seem to be a very slight delay. Although, having the ability to make free calls without using a 3G or WiFi connection may outweigh the call quality. Another drawback is the fair usage policy that limits users to 20 minutes of (outgoing) calling per day but there’s no limit for incoming.
KipCall is another handy tool to add to your arsenal of money-saving apps. It’s available for users in the U.S. and Canada for free in Apple’s app store.