Wednesday, 12 October 2011

VoIP app Viber adds pictures, location, low bandwidth codec

Call, text, share pictures

VoIP client Viber lets you call other Viber users for free. There are other apps and VoIP services for that, but the sound quality of Viber is comparable to CSipSimple, and much better than Skype, Nimbuzz, or fring.

The latest Viber update comes with a new voice engine that makes calls sound better on low bandwidth connections. Great if there's no WiFi around and you need to call over 3G.

The SMS substitute got a little better too. You can now add pictures to your texts. It's not real MMS yet, but maybe Viber will add sound and video later?

Viber added a "is typing" notification so you can see if your chat partner is typing a response while you're waiting for a reply, similar to other chat networks.

You can also send your location out with text messages. Of course you can also choose not to share your location, and in my tests Viber doesn't use your location unless you tell it to.

Autostart yes, filtering no

Viber still has plenty of room to improve. If you don't want to be available 24/7 you can switch Viber off, but you can't stop it from autostarting when you boot your phone unless you use an autostart killer. I use Optimize Tool Box to ensure that Viber only speaks when I tell it to. Too bad that Viber is not willing to add an autostart toggle switch in its own settings. It would make the app a bit less intrusive if they did. There's a lot wrong with the Skype app, but at least the competition leaves the choice to you.

Viber doesn't come with any type of filtering either, so anyone who's got your phone number can Viber you whenever you got the app running, whether you like it or not. Viber could really use a feature to block your friends during business hours and keep your coworkers away at night. Since unlimited data is quickly becoming a thing of the past, Viber could also use an option to limit incoming calls to WiFi networks. Maybe with an automatic message along the lines of "not on WiFi now, so text me instead of calling me."

A public api to integrate Viber into other apps would be welcome too, because the VoIP and chat fragmentation is getting out of hand.

Viber Media, Inc.
Viber (Android Market)

Some Viber competitors:


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  1. Hi,
    This is a member of Viber Development Team.

    Thanks for your review of Viber! We are always happy to receive our users' feedback. :)

    Few things:
    * We are planning to add sound and video for future releases... It's actually being developed at the moment.
    *Autostart enable/disable- This is a common users request and we are currently looking into it... The same holds for blocking contacts and limiting calls to WiFi/3G networks.

    We care about our user desires (see the 'Exit' button for example) and would be happy to hear about your experience with Viber.

    If you have any additional questions feel free to ask me. :)

    Viber Team

  2. Looking into an autostart toggle? Finally! On the xda forum you kept saying that an exit button was as good as it would get. Good to hear that you changed your mind about it.

  3. Things here change really fast :P

    We listen to our users requests and the most commonly asked requests are being discussed for future releases.

  4. Could Viber send a wrong location (like the one before last location) with a text? A person told me she was at a totally different location than the one Viber showed (she wasn't aware of it, 'cause she didn't know het location feature was on for a while... Means alot to me, if I could be sure that Viber doesn't sent wrong (or old, maybe 'cached') locations. Thanks.

  5. I can think of a few scenarios where Viber would get lost.

    - No GPS fix, and network location draws a blank.

    - Location blocked with an app like LBE Privacy Guard

    - etcetera.

    Maybe the Viber rep can come back to this comment thread and tell us a bit more about how Viber handles location data?

  6. thanks for your reply, android underground.

    Would indeed be really helpfull if the 'Viber rep' could look into this question, yes. Meanwhile, I've posted at other forums as well, and the answer there is: yes, it is very well possible, especially in remomte places, where one has to use 3G, because there's no wifi available (like in the case of my girlfriend, who was using Viber from a very secluded, little village in the middle of nowhere).