Thursday, July 16, 2009

No Google Voice for iPhone? AT&T’s deal with the Devil …

Poor AT&T. Their iPhone margins are less than expected because iPhone customers use orders of magnitude more bandwidth than BlackBerry users, but pay the same data charges.

Now with Push features they’re likely to face erosion on their mega-margin SMS charges.

Now comes Google Voice. I’ve been a GV/GC customer for years. The money I’ve saved on calls to Canada more than pays for my AT&T data plan. That money used to go to AT&T (and to Apple?), now I keep it.

Bad enough, but now GV is going public. I’ve just received another number that will go to my wife; her crummy BB Pearl will probably run the new GV client.

My iPhone will be staying with “GV Mobile”, a 3rd party app, for a while longer. There’s a mysterious delay in Google’s deployment of their client to the iPhone (emphases mine) …

AppleInsider | Google Voice released for Android and BlackBerry, but not iPhone

Google has released its mobile Voice application for the Android and BlackBerry platforms, but future release of the program on the iPhone will depend on acceptance from Apple and perhaps AT&T.

While iPhone users can currently access Google Voice from the Safari browser [jf - and GV Mobile], what Android and BlackBerry users received Wednesday was a full-fledged independent application that allows users to make calls, send text messages and check voicemail through their separate Google-provided phone number.

Google would like to release an iPhone version of the application, and is "working with Apple" to do so, according to the New York Times.

One unique element Google is touting is the ability to make international calls at a reduced rate. It also allows for text messages to be sent and received for free through the number, also bypassing the cell phone carrier. Google Voice also transcribes voicemails and reads numbers from the smartphone's phonebook.

These capabilities led Wired to speculate that AT&T and Apple could "cripple" a Google Voice iPhone application. It cites the fact that both companies have blocked video applications and forced Skype to nix a feature allowing free phone calls via the phone's data plan…

…The new application addresses one crucial problem with Google Voice: While someone might be able to call a user at their Google Voice number, they would likely receive a return call from the cell, home or office number where the person is available. Through the new program, the outgoing call will now appear as the Google Voice number

… A blog post announcing the release of Google Voice originally included a reference to the alleged iPhone development, but it was later removed from the page

I saw the iPhone mention on the GV blog, I didn’t know it had been later removed.

If iPhone customers want the new GV app we will need to start screaming. For now, GV Mobile isn’t bad, though I wonder how long it will be available on the App Store.

This will be a very interesting story to follow.

Poor AT&T. The iPhone turns out to be a bargain with Mephistopheles.

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