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The Wall Street Journal writes about the increasing amount of Wi-Fi found as a feature on cell phones, allowing VoIP calls outside carriers’ networks: A number of cell phones now include Wi-Fi for browsing, but on platforms that allow third-party applications to be installed—like Windows Mobile or Symbian, but not yet the iPhone (we know this before it’s released, even)—VoIP packages can make the phones even more useful.
This isn’t converged calling, like T-Mobile’s HotSpot@Home national network announced yesterday, in which Wi-Fi is used just like GSM, and is managed and controlled by the carrier and the handset. Rather, this is Wi-Fi used as an Internet connectivity tool over which arbitrary applications can run.
It’s one reason that Apple and AT&T aren’t allowing third-party programs on the iPhone at launch. With well-designed Wi-Fi and a powerful operating system, it might have been a matter of weeks for Skype, the Gizmo Project, Bria, and other soft phones and VoIP software with existing Mac OS X clients to be adapted.