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Free Facebook calls with Vonage: Hands-on review

Vonage for iPhone and Android lets you make free VoIP calls to your Facebook friends from your mobile, even if you don't have their numbers

Flora Graham
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Fancy free calling to your Facebook friends? Vonage is a new app for iPhone and Android that offers voice-over-IP chat from your mobile phone to your Facebook friends for free, anywhere in the world.

Your mate also has to have the Vonage app installed, but unlike Skype, you don't have to sign up for an account outside Facebook. You just sign into your Facebook account in the app to see who's online and give them a ring.

Vonage has even figured out a way to make the iPhone ring without needing the multitasking feature of iOS 4, so iPads, older iPhones, and iPod touches can receive calls without having the app open.

We got our hands on Vonage last week and we think it's the killer phone app Facebook has been looking for, because you don't have to faff around with creating a new account, dialling an access code or making VoIP calls from your computer. And since it rings when the app is closed, you're always available for your Facebook friends to call, even if they don't have your number.

The app supports calling over Wi-Fi and 3G, although you can turn off the 3G option if you can't spare the data.

Vonage is a big name in VoIP from the US, so we think call quality should be decent too. The app comes out in the iTunes app store and the Android Market today, and we'll update this story with links when we have them.

In the meantime, take a walk though the photo gallery above to check out some of its features.

Update: Download Vonage for iPhone and Android from Vonage's Facebook app page.

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If a contact is logged into Facebook, even on a PC, you can open a chat session instead of calling.
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The app rings and fires up a notification on the iPhone, without requiring iOS 4 -- a first for iPhone VoIP apps that we've seen.
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Facebook chats are stored like text messages, in conversations.
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You can update your own Facebook status from the app, and you have the option to turn off 3G if you only want to call over Wi-Fi.

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