Android 4.0 with Native SIP
If you haven't been following trends in the cell phone world, there have been a few recent pushes for mobile VoIP. One is the release of Republic Wireless, which, on its own, dramatically changes the landscape of mobile phone plans. Another is eVoice's business-oriented mobile VoIP app from last month, giving users a mobile PBX.
Let me just say that things are still looking good for mobile VoIP innovations, and in turn looking good for the consumer.
What's the scoop this time? Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich.
Google has developed the new OS for Android with native SIP support. This means you can use VoIP for your calling needs pretty easily. Imagine having only a data plan and using Wi-Fi/3G for all your needs: text, Internet, and voice.
In combination with something like Google Voice or a VoIP provider that supports SIP (many do), you can be well on your way to cell-less mobile phones.
When I bought my unlocked Galaxy Nexus, I figured that I'd simply use the SIM card in my iPhone 4S with the handset. Instead, I pulled the T-Mobile SIM out of my Samsung Galaxy Tab. I'm glad I did because I discovered a very appealing scenario. By using the data-only SIM — which costs me $40.00 per month for unlimited texts and data — with a new Android 4.0 feature, I've turned the Galaxy Nexus into a VoIP phone: I can get or receive calls solely through Wi-Fi and mobile broadband networks without subscribing to a voice plan.
See how Kevin C. Tofel wrangled VoIP onto his new Galaxy Nexus. Galaxy Nexus + data plan + VoIP support = free calls!
While Google isn't the first to natively support SIP in mobile phones, it's a move that has the potential to circumvent cellular service carriers, now and in the future. If mobile phone developing giants like Google are coming around to support VoIP, which makes sense when Google already has its own VoIP, complete mobile VoIP service may be nearer than we expected.