from my friend david... enjoy... http://www.line2.com/
For a little $1 iPhone app, Line2 sure has the potential to shake up an
It can save you money. It can make calls where AT&Tıs signal is weak,
like indoors. It can turn an iPod Touch into a full-blown cellphone.
And it can ruin the sleep of cellphone executives everywhere.
Line2 gives your iPhone a second phone number a second phone line,
complete with its own contacts list, voice mail, and so on. The company
behind it, Toktumi (get it?), imagines that youıll distribute the Line2
number to business contacts, and your regular iPhone number to friends
and family. Your second line can be an 800 number, if you wish, or you
can transfer an existing number.
To that end, Toktumi offers, on its Web site, a raft of Google Voice-ish
features that are intended to help a small businesses look bigger: call
screening, Do Not Disturb hours and voice mail messages sent to you as
e-mail. You can create an ³automated attendant² ³Press 1 for sales,²
³Press 2 for accounting,² and so on that routes incoming calls to
other phone numbers. Or, if youıre pretending to be a bigger business
than you are, route them all to yourself.
The Line2 app is a carbon copy, a visual clone, of the iPhoneıs own
phone software. The dialing pad, your iPhone Contacts list, your recent
calls list and visual voice mail all look just like the iPhoneıs.
(Letıs pause for a moment here to blink, dumbfounded, at that point.
Appleıs rules prohibit App Store programs that look or work too much
like the iPhoneıs own built-in apps. For example, Apple rejected the
Google Voice app because, as Apple explained to the Federal
Communications Commission, it works ³by replacing the iPhoneıs core
mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own
user interface for telephone calls.² That is exactly what Line2 does. Oh
wellthe Jobs works in mysterious ways.)
So you have a second line on your iPhone. But thatıs not the best part.
Line2 also turns the iPhone into a dual-mode phone. That is, it can make
and receive calls either using either the AT&T airwaves as usual, or
now this is the best part over the Internet. Any time youıre in a
wireless hot spot, Line2 places its calls over Wi-Fi instead of AT&Tıs
Thatıs a game-changer. Where, after all, is cellphone reception
generally the worst? Right indoors. In your house or your office
building, precisely where you have Wi-Fi. Line2 in Wi-Fi means
rock-solid, confident reception indoors.
Line2 also runs on the iPod Touch. When youıre in a Wi-Fi hot spot, your
Touch is now a full-blown cellphone, and you donıt owe AT&T a penny.
But wait, thereıs more.
Turns out Wi-Fi calls donıt use up any AT&T minutes. You can talk all
day long, without ever worrying about going over your monthly allotment
of minutes. Wi-Fi calls are free forever.
Well, not quite free; Line2 service costs $15 a month (after a 30-day
But hereıs one of those cases where spending more could save you money.
If youıre in a Wi-Fi hot spot most of the time (at work, for example),
thatıs an awful lot of calling you can do in Wi-Fi probably enough to
downgrade your AT&T plan to one that gives you fewer minutes. If youıre
on the 900-minute or unlimited plan ($90 or $100 a month), for example,
you might be able to get away with the 450-minute plan ($70). Even with
Line2ıs fee, youıre saving $5 or $15 a month.
Line2 also lets you call overseas phone numbers for Skype-like rates: 2
to 5 cents a minute to most countries. (A full table of rates is
available at toktumi.com.) As a handy globetrottersı bonus, calls home
to numbers in the United States from overseas hot spots are free.
All of these benefits come to you when youıre in a Wi-Fi hot spot,
because your calls are carried by the Internet instead of by AT&T.
Interestingly enough, though, Line2 can also make Internet calls even
when youıre not in a hot spot.
It can, at your option, place calls over AT&Tıs 3G data network, where
itıs available. Every iPhone plan includes unlimited use of this 3G
network itıs how your iPhone sends e-mail and surfs the Web. So once
again, Line2 calls donıt use up any of your monthly voice minutes.
Unfortunately, voice connections on the 3G network arenıt as strong and
reliable as the voice or Wi-Fi methods. Cellular data networks arenıt
made for seamless handoffs from cell tower to tower as you drive, for
example thereıs not much need for it if youıre just doing e-mail and
Web so dropped calls are more likely. Fortunately, if youıre on a 3G
data-network call and you walk into a hot spot, Line2 switches to the
more reliable Wi-Fi network seamlessly, in midcall.
Whenever you do have an Internet connection either Wi-Fi or a strong
3G area youıre in for a startling treat. If you and your calling
partner are both Line2 subscribers, Line2 kicks you into superhigh
audio-quality mode (16-bit mode, as the techies call it).
Your calling partners sound as if theyıre speaking right into the mike
at an FM radio station. Itıs almost too clear; you hear the other
personıs breathing, lip smacks, clothing rustling and so on. After years
of suffering through awful cellphone audio, itıs quite a revelation to
hear what youıve been missing.
Now, this all sounds wonderful, and Line2 generally is wonderful. But
thereıs room for improvement.
First, as youıve no doubt already concluded, understanding Line2 is
complicated. You have three different ways to make calls, each with pros
You miss a certain degree of refinement, too. The dialing pad doesnıt
make touch-tone sounds as you tap the keys. Thereıs no Favorites list
within the Line2 app. You canıt get or send text messages on your Line2
line. (The company says it will fix all this soon.)
Thereıs a faint hiss on Line2 calls, as if youıre on a long-distance
call in 1970. The company says that it deliberately introduces this
³comfort noise² to reassure you that youıre still connected, but itıs
unnecessary. And sometimes thereıs a voice delay of a half-second or so
(of course, you sometimes get that on regular cellphone calls, too).
Finally, a note about incoming calls. If the Line2 app is open at the
time, youıre connected via Wi-Fi, if available. If itıs not running, the
call comes in through AT&T, so you lose the benefits of Wi-Fi calling.
In short, until Apple blesses the iPhone with multitasking software, you
have to leave Line2 open whenever you put the phone to sleep. Thatıs
Still, Line2 is the first app that can receive incoming calls via either
Wi-Fi or cellular voice, so you get the call even if the app isnıt
running. Thatıs one of several advantages that distinguish it from other
voice-over-Internet apps like Skype and TruPhone.
Another example: If youıre on a Wi-Fi call using those other programs,
and someone calls your regular iPhone number, your first call is
unceremoniously disconnected. Line2, on the other hand, offers you the
chance to decline the incoming call without losing your Wi-Fi call.
Those rival apps also lack Line2ıs call-management features, visual
voice mail and conference calling with up to 20 other people. And Line2
is the only app that gives you a choice of call methods for incoming and
All of this should rattle cell industry executives, because letıs face
it: the Internet tends to make things free. Cell carriers go through
life hoping nobody notices the cellephant in the room: that once
everybody starts making free calls over the Internet, itıs Game Over for
the dollars-for-minutes model.
Line2, however, brings us one big step closer to that very future. Itıs
going to be a wild ride. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/te...h/25pogue.html