February 01, 2011, 9:49 AM — Living in the Northeast, I can honestly say I've dropped some voice calls in my time. I don't mean the AT&T oversaturation of 3G in cities like Boston, either; I mean a genuine lack of signal presence. Depending on what carrier you have and area you live in, you could be told flat-out by a salesperson that you'd better look elsewhere. It can be a very frustrating experience. I'm happy to say that I think the answer to the dropped call woes is here.
Back in June of 2007, Kineto Wireless partnered with T-Mobile to bring Wi-Fi Calling to select T-Mobile branded phones through Kineto's Smart Wi-Fi Application. In October 2010, this application came to Android as well, and T-Mobile currently hosts well more than 40 million Wi-Fi calls a month. At the recent Investor Relations Day in NYC, T-Mobile pledged a broad portfolio across ALL Android and Blackberry smartphones.
This was pretty promising stuff to me. I'd never seen Wi-Fi Calling in action, so I sent a tweet over to T-Mobile asking when we'd see such a application for the Nexus S, my current smartphone of choice. "That's up to Google." was the reply. Not the best answer in the world, but I figured I was perhaps talking to Tier-1 support.
I started doing some research into it myself, and I discovered that a Wi-Fi calling app was made by Kineto, a west coast wireless company. I looked them up, and sent them a quick e-mail to ask when Wi-Fi Calling would come to Android 2.3--the Nexus S, specifically. Steve Shaw of Kineto's corporate marketing department replied promptly and answered anything I ever could have asked about the service. Nice guy, up front and you can tell he lives this stuff. I have a feeling he'd have given me the shirt off his back, too, had I asked.
I did ask him a range of questions, and I wanted to mention a few of them here as I think you'll also find it interesting. It's an email exchange, so it's not as fluid as actual conversation would be:
Jason (PCW): How do you feel about open communities like XDA porting that app to different phones? Does Kineto have an official stance?