Preview of Fring VoIP over iPhone Now Available

The voice over internet protocol application of Fring, an online community developed by an Israeli company, is now available over the iPhone.  The free, downloadable preview was recently released and can be accessed from the company website.

The application, called Fring, was created in collaboration with the academic research laboratories of the Holon Institute in Israel.  It enables users to interact with other Fring users – dubbed Fringsters – over the Wi-Fi connection of the iPhone.  Additionally, users will be able to chat in much the same way they do on their desktop computers, as well as on their cellular phones and other Internet-enabled devices. 

With the Fring application, handset owners will be able to synchronize their online contacts from other Internet communities thereby allowing Fringsters to communicate with their Yahoo, Skype, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ, AIM and Twitter contacts.  Fring users will also be able to make calls over the Wi-Fi network making for inexpensive voice calls on mobile phones.  Fring also showcases its always-on, always-connected capability that constantly alerts the user of contact presence.  Users will know if their contacts are online, offline, away, are currently taking calls or logged in via their mobile devices or their computers. 

Although the application is free, Fring will only run on iPhone handsets that are compatible with the software.  Additional charges, such as fees for data usage, will also have to be covered by cellphone owners.  Besides the iPhone, Fring is also available on handsets running on the Windows Mobile operating system, Nokia cellphones running on Symbian S60, UIQ smartphones, Sony Ericsson phones and over 500 other mobile phone units. 

This beta version of Fring was released to enable its developers to accumulate relevant information that will help the company enhance the final product, which is slated to be commercially available during the later part of the year.  The preview will enable the company to gauge demand from iPhone users as well as gather feedback on users’ experience with the application. 

An analyst note that VoIP over mobile phones is not a new concept.  Nokia also offers this service via its Gizmo application.  The analyst says the reason it has gained much attention is that because the iPhone is involved.  Other analysts also offer a word of caution, saying that the quality of VoIP calls may vary depending on the network. 

Fring was launched in 2007 and is currently available in more than 180 countries.