Applications for making free calls using an Internet connection have gained in popularity over even just the last few years. I have been using such an application on my Android smartphone called GrooVe IP, and for the most part, it works fairly well. The only issue I have with the program is that sometimes there is an echoing of voices, which sometimes disturbs the people that I call.

I usually joke and tell them I am calling long distance from overseas, so there is a slight delay in my voice travelling through the satellite system.

The GrooVe IP application for Android is now a paid app, but the cost is pretty minimal at $4.99.

I would recommend you give the free application Google Voice a try since it remains free.

And there is also a new application from MagicJack that allows free phone calls from your Apple iPad, iPod, and iPhone. I downloaded this application from iTunes, and it installed without issues; I just needed to register my email and a password with MagicJack for the application to work. Once I went through the process, which took me about five minutes to complete — inclduing receving and activating the application — I was anxious to try the MagicJack app on my Apple iPad.

Dialing is straightforward, and the keypad is just like a normal keyboard layout on a cellphone. You type in the number you want to call and hit the phone key. I do have to point out a few issues I had with the service. Call quality is mediocre; it’s hard to hear on both ends. However, I could see the real use for this application as a supplement to your cellphone and not a replacement. First of all, the service will only function when you are within range of a Wi-Fi signal or if you have 4G (which MagicJack recommends). There is another issue that places a limit on incoming calls; you need to make the call through an access number that MagicJack provides on the application website.

With so many limitations, restrictions, and what appears to be a hassle for receiving calls, what good is this application?

  • Those who travel can take advantage of hotspots and hotel Wi-Fi to make calls without using precious cellphone minutes.
  • Most carriers have limited their services to a specific amount of minutes per month. This application could be used to supplement an existing phone plan.
  • If you forget your cellphone, you at least have another option to use.
  • If your cellphone runs out of battery power, you have a backup system.

Free Phone Calls On Your iPad, iPod, iPhone, or Android PhoneMagicJack also has another trick up its sleeve, which will be coming in the next four months. The company will be coming out with a femtocell, which will allow cellphone users to make calls through their broadband service via Wi-Fi and circumvent existing cell tower systems. This will help users of GSM phones make phone calls without charging minutes to their accounts. What is surprising is that MagicJack contends that the use of a femtocell is legal, because cell signal usage is controlled outside of the home, and not inside where the user has control. We may see this issue being raised in a court of law.

What other applications are available to make free calls or send text on your Apple iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Android devices?

Viber supports both Apple and Android cellphones. The only issue is that Viber requires both the caller and the recipient to be active Viber users. That is a small price to pay for making free phone calls or sending free text messages, plus the application itself is free.

Fring is another free application that supports both Apple cellphones and Android cellphones with the addition of support for group chatting. This freebie uses the Internet for phone calling, text messaging, and group video chatting with up to four of your friends. Your friends also need Fring on their systems to take advantage of all of Fring’s features.

Tango has been one of the most popular free applications that offers free voice and video for a large assortment of different operating systems and devices. Tango supports the following devices and laptop computers:

  • Apple iPad, iPod, and iPhone
  • Windows Phone
  • Windows laptops
  • Android phones and tablets

Tango’s popularity and high user ratings makes Tango a very popular application across most of the most popular platforms.

The word Skype has become synonymous with VoIP (Voice Over IP) Internet calling. Skype continues to offer free and paid services with a wide offering of plans that support all devices, from every one of the major device companies as well as  OS X, Linux, and Windows computers. Skype continues to be the standard to which all other applications are compared.

The only way to determine which application is right for you and that will meet your needs is to try the different applications that are available. The one benefit of all of the applications that I have listed is that all are free (except GrooVe IP). You have the ability to try the applications, and if you do not like what any application provides or if it doesn’t meet your needs or purpose, you can merely uninstall the application and try another.

Which application do you use?

Comments welcome.