A good friend gave me a Nokia E61 to try out recently.
There are several things I don’t like about the phone:
- It is huge!
- It is really wide (to accommodate the qwerty keyboard) but this means your hand quickly becomes tired holding it to your ear for any prolonged period.
- It doesn’t have a camera (this might sound trivial but I have really come to depend on having ready access to a camera and it was having access to a cameraphone that allowed me to capture this image easily, for instance). And
- There are no games included (ok, that one was a bit trivial!)
However, the E61 does have a couple of nice features:
- The qwerty keyboard ironically, takes some unlearning to get used to but once you do, it does really speed up typing on the phone and
- The fact that the E61 has built-in wifi means that I can now use services like Truphone to make free and very cheap calls from my mobile anytime I have access to wifi.
Truphone also gives me a US landline number (+1 425 905 3151). This is handy as I will be able to receive calls when I am in the US on that number, without having to pay any roaming costs as long as I have wifi.
Truphone also has an offer on at the moment giving away free calls to landlines in 40 countries until the end of June! Excellent.
I can now make free calls to landlines, from my wifi network at home (at higher call quality than my GSM network at home!!!), using the E61.
Now all I need is a cameraphone with wifi!
I posted recently about Jajah’s mobile web app. It seemed like a great idea at the time. unfortunately I hadn’t tried it out before posting about it.
I had an opportunity to try it out the other evening. I was trying to contact friends in New York from my mobile. I called up the Jajah mobile web app page and called my friends.
I made (and was billed for – see below) five calls to my friends’ numbers. Only one call connected us to each other and that dropped in mid-conversation.
The other calls connected my friends to my voicemail (!) where they left increasingly bemused messages for me.
The whole thing cost me â‚¬1.20 or just over 37c per minute – not exactly value for money!
Good buddy Pat Phelan [that’s the disclosure out of the way!] has launched an Irish version of his allfreecalls product.
The thinking with this is that is you have signed up for a number of minutes a month from a local telco, then local and national calls are essentially free.
With that in mind, Pat has local and national numbers you can dial, which, when answered prompt you to enter the number of your final call destination.
I just used it to call an old college friend who moved to New York last year. Brilliant.
One of our neighbours is Bulgarian and she has family in Spain. She thinks this is a phenomenal idea. She can call either country for the cost of a local or national call.
Kudos to you Pat for making this possible.
I saw a post on Pat Phelan’s blog this morning about Jajah. I use Jajah from time to time when making international calls from my landline and it saves me quite a bit of money.
Jajah also has a downloadable plugin for the mobile phone which can be handy when it works, but is generally more trouble than it is worth.
However, Jajah have obviously recognised the problems with the plugin and come at the issues another way – they have setup a site at mobile.jajah.com. You access this site from your phone’s browser and make your calls from there.
No messy plugin to download and because most of the work is done server-side, very few client-side (handset incompatibility) issues.
This is a great idea – it certainly will make the process of making many calls from your mobile cheaper and easier than using the plugin. However if Jajah were trying to make the process easier for their clients, why not reduce the amount of typing required (everyone hates typing on phone handsets)? Why not make the address m.jajah.com?
You can see a demo of the app working here.
I just got word that Pat Phelan is in some serious trouble – can’t say more at this time but watch this space and keep your keyboard fingers ready to try to help him out when this story breaks (probably in the next 24 hours).
As I posted earlier, Pat Phelan has launched his new Roam4free product.
He is now looking for feedback and is offering to give an Acer Pocket PC to the “most helpful review”.
Pat entered me into the competition because of the feedback I gave in my previous post – thanks Pat.
Can you beat my feedback (it shouldn’t be too difficult!)?
Finally after months and months of long hours and lots of hard work Pat Phelan’s site roam4free.ie went live this evening.
Roam4free is a site where you can buy a SIM card online for your mobile phone to use if you are traveling abroad. If you use the Roam4free SIM card in your phone, you can receive calls free of charge (as opposed to the extortionate roaming charges the mobile operators charge) and you can make calls for a fraction of the normal cost.
Roam4free SIM cards are â‚¬20 each and include â‚¬5 call credit.
Well worth it if you are a frequent traveler.
Well done Pat. A couple of quick questions for you though which are not obvious to me from the FAQ:
1. Can I get an Irish Roam4free number (or do people who want to call me have to call a non-Irish number)?
2. Can I get access to 3G/GPRS services abroad with the Roam4free card? and
3. Can I keep my old number of have my calls forwarded from my regular number to my Roam4free number?
I have been using Jajah‘s service to make cheap calls from my landline (15c per minute from Ireland to Spanish mobiles) but I have failed to get it working on my mobile.
I have a Nokia N70 and I downloaded the software for Jajah onto my mobile. The Jajah software is supposed to detect when a call is being made from your mobile to an international number and take over the call transparently to you, saving you a fortune in mobile call costs.
However, on my N70, anytime I tried to make an international call, they never connected. This caused me considerable hassle recently when I was in the UK and couldn’t make any calls to people I was supposed to be meeting in London as they were on “international” numbers.
I had to figure out how to disable Jajah to get any work done.
The service sounds promising, but if it causes a technophile this amount of hassle, how will non tech people get it working?
Finally I have had enough of the unreliability of the Blueface service!
My new phone number is +353-21-490 8485.
This is the Eircom number on my DSL service. I may go to another provider in time but for now, at least I know the Eircom service works.
Just as a matter of documenting the failings of my Blueface VOIP service, I am unable to make outgoing calls on my Blueface service again this morning.
Oh hang on, no I’m not!