Virtual Office Featured Article
October 01, 2012Is VoIP Just a Sideshow on Tablet PCs?
By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
All tablets come with an app architecture that allows software such as Skype (News - Alert) and other VoIP solutions; options such as Skype are not always business-grade solutions, however, lacking call reliability and 9-11 functionality, among other features.
Using a tablet as a phone can be a cute trick, but does it make sense for more intensive use?
When he got his new tablet, “one of the first things I did with my new toy was explore its VoIP capabilities,” Zipper wrote. “I think I have seen the future, but through a still-cloudy crystal ball.”
“I can report that it worked, but the video part was sometimes flakey, and it didn’t work most of the time when I was connected to ‘free’ Wi-Fi hotspots,” he wrote.
This was perhaps partially because the tablet wasn’t technically supposed to run Skype—according to Samsung, consumers needed the company’s Note tablet to effectively run Skype.
He still got it working on his Tab, however.
The larger issue is not whether it is possible to run VoIP on a tablet, but whether it makes sense.
The issue of placing calls to and receiving calls from non-Skype accounts can be surmounted with add-ons such as Skype Out, and Bluetooth headsets make the tablet’s large form-factor a non-issue. And a reliable VoIP solution will be no worse than a cellular connection in a bad part of town. But why bother? Are tablets the right device for regular phone calls?
That was Zipper’s conclusion.
“Actually, what I see the current generation of tablets replacing in cell phones isn’t the voice function at all,” he wrote.
He can watch movies, send text messages, read e-mail and write his blog from his smartphone.
“But my new Tab does all of that, is half the price of my current smartphone, and does it all a lot more conveniently and on a much bigger but still very portable screen.”
Tablets can run VoIP, but that’s not what he sees them being used for. Tablets are more about taking over everything else a smartphone does – everything but the calling part.
“I’m finding that the seven-inch form factor is just dandy to carry around continually – relegating my smart phone to primary duty as, well, a phone,” he wrote.
So while VoIP can be done on a tablet, Zipper at least thinks it will play a very minor role. Just like reading will exist but play a minor role on smartphones as tablets become even more prevalent.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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