The Toktumi Line2 VOIP app for iPhone delivers outstanding voice quality and features with good SMS messaging, but only for Apple devices.
The outstanding Line2 voice
over IP app for iPhone from Toktumi now includes SMS text messaging in addition
to its existing calling services, providing a full second mobile telephone line
over WiFi or cellular data services to Apple smartphone users who may be having
trouble getting good AT&T coverage for their primary line.
Line2 3.0, which was
released in October, adds what Toktumi bills as carrier-grade SMS messaging,
which I found to be a rather humorous goal, given carriers' long-standing
treatment of SMS messaging as a bulk-rate mechanism with nonguaranteed
Unfortunately, users may
find the price a little unwieldy, given that the service works only on the
iPhone, and cannot be accessed from a PC, Mac or other device. The application
is a free download from Apple's App Store and comes with a 30-day free trial of
the Line2 services, which includes unlimited free calling and texting within
and Canada. But after the 30-day period, Line2 costs $10 a
month, which is a marginally expensive cost for a VOIP service that works on only
By comparison, a monthly
SkypeOut plan costs $3 a month and works on a cornucopia of different devices,
even though Skype's messaging doesn't work as well and has per-message costs
associated with it.
Line2 offers iPhone, iPad or
iPod Touch (second-generation or better) users a full telephone line for their
device. For iPhone users, this acts as a complete second line, with its own
number (which you choose when registering for Line2) that operates in parallel
with the native AT&T extension. While the iPad is currently supported,
expect Line2 to work better on that device once Apple lights up background
tasks on its slate in the forthcoming iOS 4.2 software release.
When placing calls, users
can dial numbers directly from the Line2 on-screen keypad, or access the
iPhone's contact directory through Line2 to place calls. A toggle button on the
dial pad allows the user to select whether to place the call via the AT&T
line or the Toktumi line.
However, I tested version
3.0.1 of Line2 using my SIM-less iPhone 3GS (I had happily quit AT&T earlier this
year)-making my iPhone the equivalent of an iPad or an iPod Touch-so I didn't
have access to an AT&T line to try these features. I did find the call
quality of the Line2 VOIP line over my office 802.11n WiFi network to be
excellent, with no noticeable distortions or jitter effects, nor any unusual
delay effects. iPhone users can also configure Line2 to place VOIP calls over
AT&T's 3G data network, although mileage may vary depending on the data
coverage and network performance.
Once a VOIP call had been connected
through the Toktumi line, I found I could easily transfer the call to other
land or mobile lines, and I could also conference in additional parties with
just a few clicks.
I found Line2's SMS
messaging worked quite well, as I was easily able initiate conversations with
mobile phones in my contact directory. Like the iPhone, Line2 keeps a threaded
view of text conversations, tracking my recent conversations and allowing me to
easily drill back down into prior conversations to see what was said, and when.
MMS is not currently supported, however, so Line2 can't
be used to share pictures or videos.
For customers looking for a
more robust, small business class VOIP offering that works across multiple
endpoint devices, Toktumi also offers an upgrade to its full Toktumi Hosted PBX
Phone Service. For $15 a month (or $80 for five prepaid months), the full
service offers an auto attendant, conference calling, customized greetings, and visual voice mail, among other features.