T-Mobile Android Smartphones to Get WiFi Calling

T-Mobile will soon extend its WiFi Calling technology to a number of its Android-running smartphones, including the new MyTouch and the Motorola Defy.

T-Mobile will be extending its WiFi Calling technology to a selection of its Android-running smartphones, the carrier announced Oct. 6. Among the handsets that will arrive with the capability built in are the new T-Mobile MyTouch and the Motorola Defy.

Running Kineto's Smart WiFi Application, phones with T-Mobile's WiFi Calling for Android will offer the ability to place voice calls and send SMS (Short Message Service) messages from 802.11 b/g/n hot spots around the world.

"T-Mobile's expansion of WiFi Calling to Android smartphones is an excellent innovation, and part of our ongoing initiatives on behalf of our customers to enhance indoor coverage," Torrie Dorrell, T-Mobile's vice president of connected family products and services, said in a statement. "This new execution of WiFi Calling technology helps us ensure that our customers' Android-powered smartphones can keep them connected to the important people in their lives where they work, live or play."

T-Mobile launched its WiFi Calling technology in June 2007, and now hosts about 40 million WiFi calls per month, with a mix of consumer and enterprise customers taking advantage of the reduced domestic and international calling rates the technology makes possible.

T-Mobile currently offers WiFi Calling on a number of non-Android handsets, including the Nokia E73 Mode, the BlackBerry Curve 8520, the BlackBerry Bold 9700 and the BlackBerry Curve 3G. (AT&T will soon also offer the Curve 3G as well as the BlackBerry Pearl 3G.)

The ruggedized Motorola Defy, which features a water- and scratch-resistant 3.7-inch touch screen, will arrive from T-Mobile in time for the holidays. The new T-Mobile MyTouch, also coming for the holidays, will be available in white, black, plum or red. Said to offer "blazing-fast 4G speeds," per T-Mobile, the new MyTouch will feature video chatting with or without WiFi, a high-definition camcorder and a Genius Button that responds to voice commands.

Pricing details for the new handsets have not yet been released.

Android smartphone owners wanting to explore free or cheap calling rates might also check out new products from Fring and CounterPath. With Fring's FringOut application, users can place calls to non-Fring users anywhere in the world over WiFi, 3G or 4G for 1 cent per minute. And for business customers, CounterPath's Bria Android Edition offers VOIP (voice over IP) calling with PBX-style features, such as call rejecting, merging and forwarding. The Fring application is out now, but Bria Android Edition will arrive in the coming weeks. Both will be available in the Android Market.