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: