Jajah launches half-baked mobile product

Jajah launched a new VOIP product for mobile phones overnight.

The story was broken by our own Pat Phelan and followed up by BusinessWeek and Mike Arrington.

There are a number of problems with the product (I suspect they launched to deadline rather than launching when they had fully tested). The most obvious one I have heard is that the download link doesn’t work for the mobile client application and indeed when I tried to download the version for my Nokia N70, it attempted to download the wrong file type (.sis instead of .zip).

Jajah download error.

I did make a call to another Jajah user using the web interface but the call dropped after around 20 seconds – presumably ‘cos I had burned up my 50c credit. 50c in 20 seconds of a call (or $1.50 per minute)? That doesn’t seem like much of a cost saving to me – quite the opposite. Especially considering calls to other Jajah users are supposed to be free.

I suceeded to download with the OTA option (over the air). The app installed successfully on the phone but now I don’t know what to do next. Nor can I find anywhere on the site to tell me how I configure which calls go out over Jajah and which go over GSM. Seemingly Jajah decides that for you – well, if my Jajah experience so far is anything to go by, I’d prefer to be making those decisions myself, thanks.

My advice, wait until they get it right (could be a while yet!).

9 thoughts on “Jajah launches half-baked mobile product”

  1. I’m also a little worried that it is making data connections in the background without telling me. Are they assuming we all have flat rate data. I can hear “that sound” on my speakers which usually happens as an SMS is due to arrive but in this case none arrives so I’m guessing there is some other activity going on. I have disabled it just in case.

  2. SIS is the correct file format for the N70 application installer on a PC. Not sure about Mac. Their instructions are a bit lacking to put it mildly. After spending ages trying to figure out how to “use” it, I discovered that it just takes over a call as you dial it. Note that the mobile legs of the call are always GSM, the difference is that the non-mobile legs go over the Jajah VOIP network rather than Voda’s or O2’s wired network and that is where the cost saving supposedly comes in.

    I’m going to try Jajah-mobile to normal mobile tomorrow from Dublin to Cork to see how it performs and how much it costs. I don’t have a good enough signal in Bandon to try it.

  3. Hi Tom:

    This is Sean from Jajah. I’m in charge of the Jajah Mobile launch. You have some valid criticisms, thanks for the feedback.

    We knew when we launched these additional mobile tools that we could have problems. You’ve described some of yours here. I’ll talk through some of the issues you raise and at the bottom of this comment will be my mobile number and e-mail address so that anyone who has particular questions can call me directly.

    * .sis file format: This is the standard file format for Symbian. It’s a binary file and it’s not compressed so it arrives in the format that you will install on your mobile phone. However, as you correctly point out, the help pop-up attached mentions a “.zip” file. I’ll get that sorted.

    * Call drop. Of course without seeing your account details I can’t really comment. Once you are logged in, if you go to this address: http://www.jajah.com/members/settings.aspx then select “Call history” you will see exactly who you called and how much it cost.

    * If your call was to another Jajah user then it would have been free. That information will also be in the “Call history” section.

    * Related to this though is the fact that the credit we give you might not be enough to try the service properly. I’m going to lobby to get this amount increased. No promises though.

    * As you can see from your screen shot there is a link about what to do next, once you have downloaded the ap. However, I think your critique is valid. I’m going to revisit the help section later this week and make it much more detailed.

    * We’ve actually been working on this for over four months and we’ve done extensive testing. Believe me, I haven’t had a decent nights sleep in ages 🙂 We are constantly working on the aps and the installation and use process. We want to hear from you and improve the service.

    Anyone can feel free to contact me directly at sean(at)jajah.com or call me on my mobile: +1-650-430-3641 (remember to se Jajah to call me then it will be free!)

    Just as a note, I’m a Mac user as well so I’ll talk about that in more detail if anyone needs more particular information.

  4. I didn’t manage to make that call yesterday but I did have some phone strangeness with lack of responsiveness and some random hangs. I don’t know if Jajah was to blame but I’ve disabled it temporarily just in case.

  5. I just used Jajah to call Ghana (West Africa). First I got some dropped calls then on the recent attempt, everything work perfectly. Voice clarity etc was unbelievable.

    Thinking about getting Jajah Mobile on my Razr… any thoughts?


  6. I was glad to hear someone say Jajah is “half-baked”.
    I tried Jajah and discovered their business model was hazy and the claims on their web site misleading. For a Web 2.0 company – that’s a shame.
    The issue is that Jajah claims that calls between registered users using land lines are free. Also there is a fair Use policy which is OK and fair – you are limited to 60 minutes a day – that’s fine. But…if you adhere to Jajah’s policy – your calls should be free. They are not!
    What happens is that sometime after registering you get a message that you must pay Jajah or the free service is discontinued. I corresponded with the company at length and got back a tirade of “double-talk” claiming that to continue with the free service I needed to “maintain a positive credit balance” on Jajah’s account.
    So I checked out the company again making sure I read everything(!) on their web site: I registered another land line, had a friend register his land line and started the service. At first the web page shows the calls are free. Then, suddenly, a message appears that the call costs so and so cents…Even though its the same numbers and the Fair Use Policy is strictly respected – Viola the catch…My “65 cent credit line” disappeared and up came the request for payment…
    Folks…this is not Skype… Skype is simple…Skype is free…Skype tells you clearly what, how much and when you need to pay. Jajah’s business model is either half-baked or simply tricky…

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  8. I have looked over the Jajah site and it is clear to me that this is for technically inclined users, and not my general client. I have been in telecom sales for 10 years and if it ain’t simple, I ain’t selling it to most of my clientele. Downloading apps to cellphones…not for the bulk of my prospects.

    I think everyone is looking for an auta-attendant system that they can call into from their cellphone, and then choose an option for call forwarding. Then they would dial in the number to call, or speak the number that they want to be forwarded to, and the rest of the call would be done using VoIP. They would only have local minutes on their cellphone, and the overseas component would be at the VoIP rates they have agreed upon with their carrier. There are several Hosted PBX solutions on the market (I work for a company with an excellent product) that work with and without VoIP service, and if someone cracks the code on this, it would be major. Even better would be the option to have a dial by name directory for clients, and other contacts that when you typed in the name, the system would out-dial to the pre-programmed number for the person you wanted to speak to… You would be on your cell, contacting anyone in your database, using VoIP to connect all but the initial local cell phone portion.

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