Softphones allow users to make VoIP calls directly over their computer, but with recent mobile trends many developers have begun integrating softphone software directly onto users’ mobile devices (smart phones and tablets). As a result, users are given the same softphone features they would have on their desktop. Now, with mobility becoming increasingly coveted, more and more mobile softphone apps are coming out of the woodwork. So, to help you pick the best option, we’ve compiled a list of 5 useful mobile softphone apps.
The Bria app is available for Android, Android Tablets, iPhone, and iPad platforms. This softphone works over 3G (when applicable) and WiFi networks to deliver a quality mobile VoIP solution with extensive features. Aside from voice calling features, the Bria app offers various premium add-ons for additional pricing. The Bria app also offers an accessible interface that utilizes the device’s existing contact list to further ease communication and functionality. Unlike many other apps, the Bria app does not require a relationship with one specific provider. Instead, it merely requires an SIP-based VoIP provider (of your choosing) or an SIP-based server. Bria is made by Counterpath, the developer behind the X-Lite desktop solution; therefore, users can expect the same quality solution with this mobile app. Though it’s not free, Bria’s $7.99(phones) or $12.99 (tablets) price tag (plus add-ons) is definitely a worthwhile investment for users looking for a quality mobile app.
This free app is available for Windows, Android, and iPhone platforms and features a full VoIP softphone that is not tied to any specific provider; therefore, users can choose and switch their service provider easily. Users should however note that once the app is used on a phone, the phone cannot be used with a PBX other than 3CX (while in use). The 3CX app is fit with the standard softphone features and allows users to make calls to any VoIP, mobile, or landline numbers. Much like Bria and Opera, the 3CXPhone app utilizes simplicity and accessibility. Though its features are not as extensive as other mobile options, 3CXPhone offers a free quality app that doesn’t require a relationship with a specific provider.
This free app is available for Android, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad platforms. This app was designed as an extension of the provider’s desktop solution; therefore, registration with Opera systems is a requirement. As an extension, the mobile app is able to include all the provider’s desktop features. The app functions by using VoIP technology with 3G and WiFi networks; however, it is also programmed to route voice communication over GSM (Global System for Mobile communications). In terms of operability, the Opera app provides various functionalities that range from fixed calling line identity to mobile routing. In short, while other mobile apps are bogged down with complexity, the Opera app is accessible, convenient, and easy to use.
4. Google Voice
This free app is available for Android, iPhone and iPad platforms. You can also make calls from your browser. Google Voice is similar to the Opera softphone as it allows users to be on the move while providing the option to answer your desk phone. Google Voice offers extensive features that integrate contacts and allows users to manage calls, voicemails and text. It includes call blocking and voicemail to text/email as well. In terms of operability, Google Voice has a simple setup and a minimalist and intuitive user interface. One downside is that, due to automatic contact integration, novice users could find themselves mistakenly sending messages from their personal cellphone account if they’re not careful.
5. Adore Softphone:
This free app is available for Android, iPhone, Symbian, and Windows Mobile platform. Adore Softphone also offers three different categories of application:
The Mobile Dialer (SIP Client)—developed to integrate VoIP calling functionality to mobile devices.
The Communicator—based on the SIP platform, this app is designed to allot users audio calls, video calls, IMs, and other various features.
The Calling Card Dialer—developed for automatic dialing of access numbers includes various features.
Each platform has its own application and feature options. For example, iPhone and Android apps include all three categories, while Windows offers the Mobile Dialer or the Calling Card Dialer, and Symbian offers only the Mobile Dialer. Despite extensive choice, this app is much more complex and thusly less accessible. While the Communicator is the most inclusive option, users must have a more precise knowledge of their needs and intended usage in order to decide which option is best for them.
The Bottom Line
Though there are a number of other mobile softphone app options available, not all offer quality, option, and feature. Mobility is very important; however, apps and services should not cut quality and service to meet user demands. The five apps above never sacrifice quality. While they may vary in accessibility, operability, and feature, each blends mobility with quality.