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VoIP comes to iPhone, gingerly

Global IP Solutions enables the iPhone with high-quality, real-time voice over IP using Wi-Fi connections.

Soon enough, you will be able to voice chat using instant messenger on an iPhone. Dong Ngo/CNET Networks

Global IP Solutions, a company well recognized for its media-processing expertise in IP communications, announced on Monday its SDK, which enables Voice over IP applications to be made for Apple's iPhone.

This means that developers can now use GIPS' VoiceEngine Mobile, to create real-time VoIP applications, such as games, social-networking applications, and, of course, applications for making calls to regular phone lines over the Internet. Soon enough, you will be able to use instant messenger to voice chat with friends on the iPhone, just like you've been doing on your computer for ages now.

Though this is exciting news indeed, GIPS VoiceEngine Mobile will only work with iPhone's Wi-Fi connection and will not take advantage of the new iPhone's 3G connection. This is because Apple has always blocked the use of VoIP on the carriers' data connection; and AT&T, understandably, wouldn't be too happy about supporting something that potentially costs them long distance phone business. We can only hope this will change in the future. For now, in my experience, AT&T's 3G coverage is still too patchy and unreliable to be a platform for VoIP calls, anyway.

Being the inventors of the popular iLBC codec standard (which got approved by IETF in late 2004 and is currently implemented in the iPhone), GIPS' decision today seems a natural move, considering the popularity of the iPhone. According to Apple, more than one million iPhone 3Gs were purchased over the launch weekend; and exactly one month later--today--you can still find people waiting in line outside some Apple stores for the device.

So far, GIPS claims that its voice engines have been downloaded and used more widely than any other voice engine worldwide. GIPS' voice engines enable consumers and businesses to enjoy affordable, high-quality, IP-based communications, even under adverse network conditions.