Truphone, ever keen to promote its free and low-cost phone services, is appealing to those who want the Apple goodness of an iPhone but don’t want to pay large upfront bills or sign up to an extortionate monthly contract.
The “solution” is to buy an iPod touch, which is considerably cheaper than an iPhone (but still more expensive than a lot of mobile phones of course) and use Truphone’s application to make free calls over Wi-Fi to other Truphone or Google Talk users.
There are three fundamental problems with this if you’re hoping for an always on, out-of-the-box solution (don’t you love those kind of phrases?):
- Lack of ubiquitous Wi-Fi: Unless you’re always hanging around at home, or in metropolitan areas with free wireless access, your iPod touch won’t have a wireless connection a lot of the time.
- Lack of microphone: Yes, funnily enough the iPod touch doesn’t have a microphone, so you’ll have to make calls with Apple’s new in-ear headphones – an extra expense.
- Lack of people to call: If you don’t know a lot of people who also use Truphone or Google Talk, or you want to call regular landline and mobile phones, you’ll be forced to pay for calls instead. While Truphone does offer some attractive calling plans, it’s still not free.
The principle is good, but it probably won’t appeal to anyone who wants to make or receive a lot of calls. Still, if you’ve already got an iPod touch, it’s worth downloading the free application for casual use.