North Wales, PA
Article: Android Gingerbread feature: Internet calling
Monday, Dec 20, 2010
"One of the big changes in Gingerbread is the inclusion of a full Internet calling stack in the Android operating system. This means that you can make and receive voice calls over 3G (or 4G or any random number of G's) and, more important, WiFi. It works a lot like Skype or Gtalk does on your computer, and we wouldn't be surprised if it gets built into the Android Gtalk client one day.
Until then, you need a third party VoIP (Voice over IP) account, and a little setup. ...."
For the rest of the article and a video review, see the source at:
Comment: I wonder if Verizon, AT&T, etc. will disable this functionality before they'll sell you the phone, but it isn't hard to root a phone to find a way to re-enable it. One could potentially build some interesting apps using this functionality as long as the carrier doesn't disable it.
PS -- The disadvantage I heard in the video's demo seems to be noticable lag of 1 second or so. That's pretty bad! On the other hand, an advantage (besides the possibility of nearly-free calling) might be higher fidelity audio. (I notice Skype on my PC sounds much better than my cell phone and appreciably better than my regular wired phone, so it seems possible that it'd be better.)