Friday, July 11, 2008

Cool Technology of the Week

Since every other technology blogger is going to discuss the iPhone 3G launch, it's a day to blog about cool phone technologies. Yes CareGroup/BIDMC and Harvard Medical School will support the iPhone 3G with our Exchange 2007 systems, ensuring equal treatment of Blackberry and iPhone for email and calendar synch. I will test the iPhone 3G using a loaner from Apple that arrives on July 18. I'll report on my feature by feature comparison of the Blackberry Curve (I've not been able to test a Blackberry Bold yet) and the iPhone in a post later this month.

While traveling internationally with my Blackberry 8320, I make and receive numerous calls. Roaming charges can be extreme - $1 to $2 dollars per minute. How do you travel internationally with your smartphone and avoid the high cost?

My cool technology of the week is iSkoot , a downloadable Skype client for the Blackberry and other smartphones (HP, Treo, Nokia, Motorola etc). The iSkoot client places a regular local phone call to an iSkoot gateway server, then the gateway server places a Skype call, bypassing all long distance charges. While connected to the iSkoot gateway, the iSkoot client enables you to

* See who is signed in and view their online status
* Manage your own online status
* Click to call a contact
* Click to chat with a contact
* Make low-cost calls to any phone number, anywhere in the world using SkypeOut
* Receive calls from Skype users
* Add or remove friends from your contact list
* Refresh your contact list automatically or on demand

One other technique I find useful when traveling internationally is to use an inexpensive quad band mobile phone ($30 on eBay) with a local Sim Card, purchased in the country I'm visiting. This enables folks in the country to call you and you to call them at low cost. Also, you can receive calls from international callers at no cost to you. The caller pays a bit more to reach your roaming local cell phone, but you incur no long distance charges.

iSkoot and local Sim Cards - a Cool Technology solution for the international traveler.
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