Neither iPhone or OpenMoko are revolutionary

Andreas Kostyrka andreas at
Thu Jan 18 12:39:11 CET 2007

* Renaissance Man <renaissanceman at> [070118 03:15]:
> On 18 Jan 2007, at 2:00 am, David Schlesinger wrote:
> >You can go out and buy a Nokia 800 or a Sony Mylo today for the price of a NEO and do VoIP right this instant. If it's changed the world, I guess I must not have been paying 
> >attention.
> No you don't appear to be reading correctly what I'm writing. It's GSM+VoIP via WiFi. i.e. cheap mobile phones that people can communicate cheaply with.
These are already existing, albeit they are highend phones currently.
> >>I couldn't think of a better example of a killer app than sticking a
> >>piece of software on a device that lets people speak to each other around the world effectively for free.
> >
> >Ditto.
> Good, now understand that VoIP via WiFi + GSM is that killer app. See previous email for more detail.
Nope it's not. VoIP is not a mobile phoning solution, it's a nomadic
phoning solution. The difference is startling, even if many seem not
to grasp it.

Basically, WiFi is not a setup-less protocol. Commercial (and many
non-commercial too) hotspots require you to log in. Plus there is now
way to be sure if the network connection is ok for VoIP (be it
firewalls, bandwidth problems, jerky connections).

So basically, it allows users that want to go through the pain to take
their landline with them, whereever (hispeed internet capable) they

Please also consider that using hotspots on the run is quite
expensive. In my personal experience, I almost never bother. The only
times are when I need something to do latency free and/or I forgot to
bring my mobile-warrior pack with my laptop.

To put it bluntly, consider my poor guy, sitting in the Frankfurt/M
train station, wanting to call his wife in Austria. What is the
cheapest way to go at it? Hmm.

Calling directly from my German mobile ~60EUR per hour.
Calling from my Mobile via Calling card ~4.20EUR per hour.
Calling via "free" VoIP via hotspot 12EUR per hour. 

It's worse, because the first two options are billed per minute, while
the T-Mobile hotspot bills at 10 minute increments.

So a VoIP phone allows cheap calling where you've got a free hotspot.
E.g. at home. But at home, I can just use my landline directly to call
cheap. And everywhere I've got a landline, I can call the 0800 free
call dialin of my calling card provider.

So VoIP "as cheap call" feature helps only in a strictly limited
number of places: free hotspots without landlines that can be used to
call 0800.

E.g. some hotels have free WiFi. Good. But the same hotels have a
phone in every room that I can use for free to access a 0800 number.

So, while it's cool, and it has many nice uses, I don't think that
VoIP/WiFi on a mobile is a killer feature.

Actually, I don't see that many other uses for WiFi on a phone either
(I don't use it much on my Nokia I admit).


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