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Feb. 22 2010 — 9:49 pm | 223 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Survey says wireless call quality is down

In other news, the sky is blue! Wireless call quality is getting worse, according to a Feb. 18 study by J.D. Power & Associates that notes call quality problems have increased considerably in 2010.

Out of 100 calls placed, 13 experienced some problems, up from 11 six months ago. In particular, the number of reported dropped calls has increased to six per 100 calls, up from four six months ago. The cause: Smartphone use is surging, putting strains on networks and resulting in static on lines and dropped calls.

via J.D. Power: Wireless Call Quality has Declined — BusinessWeek 

As consumers, these smart phone problems aren’t going to go away anytime soon. Carriers are offering consumers more incentives to switch to smart phones and the networks will continue to be overloaded further degrading the call quality on your mobile phone. For many consumers that are using their smart phones as the alternative to a landline, we wonder how long they’ll put up with the dropped calls and expensive smart phone contracts. When you’re fed up with your smart phone, look at the alternatives. There’s a smart phone for your home – Ooma. It doesn’t fit in your pocket. It doesn’t drop calls. It doesn’t nickel and dime you every month with costly bills.  It’ll be interesting to watch this space.

Jan. 7 2010 — 9:41 am | 321 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

What does Google’s Nexus One mean for your home phone?

It’s nice to see that Jon Stokes over at Ars Technica recognizes there’s more to the Google Nexus One than flashy new hardware and data plan.

One of the ways that a Google-branded phone makes the most sense is as a platform for the company to expand the functionality and user base of Google Voice. With the Nexus One launch, we may see Google Voice open up to more users, and we might also see the introduction of long-awaited number portability to the service….Google will likely want Voice to be the primary way for Nexus One users to place calls on the handset, and that would mean giving out a Google Voice number to everyone who buys a Nexus One and who doesn’t already have a Google Voice account.

Via What does the Nexus One mean for Google Voice, Apps?

We agree with Stokes that the Nexus One isn’t just another Android Phone; it could potentially alter how Google delivers its Google Voice service. We’re excited about this, because we see an opportunity to extend that smart phone functionality and bring it to the home phone. It’s time to start expecting the home phone to be as smart as your mobile phone.

So what does Google Voice have to do with Ooma anyway? For starters, it is important to understand Google Voice doesn’t provide phone service – it works over the phone service you already have. Whether it is your home phone, cell phone, work phone or all three, Google Voice still needs to reach you at a phone. That’s where Ooma comes in – we make Google Voice a whole lot more convenient to use through Ooma’s custom Google Voice Extensions (GVE).  Using GVE with your Nexus One enables a seamlessly integrated home phone system and mobile calling experience. We’ll have more to say about this shortly, so stay tuned.

Dec. 23 2009 — 8:09 pm | 37 views | 0 recommendations | 0 comments

Are you online now that we are at the end of 2009?

You may be aware that the Federal Communications Commission has been busy crafting America’s first national broadband plan, ensuring that all our citizens can access broadband Internet at affordable rates.

Just last Wednesday, preliminary recommendations were outlined by the FCC in a report on its national broadband plan, due in February 2010. More details can be found in this Associated Press article.

No matter what the plan says, we know that an open and accessible Internet will be essential to America’s future growth. It is fair to say that broadband access for everyone could help revitalize our economy, improve education, engage millions more people in our democracy and give new meaning to freedom of speech.

If you want…and agree with the following, there’s an opportunity to give your input. Tell the FCC you support an open, fast, affordable and people-powered Internet without the corporate red tape, high prices, slow performance, and lack of choice. Net Neutrality should be a basic and enforceable rule of the Internet. The plan should also ensure that every American — regardless of their race, income or location — can connect to broadband at prices everyone can afford. Follow this link to send your message directly to the FCC.

An organization called Internet for Everyone is leading the way in communicating this message. Just this year, they took a tour across the U.S., visiting cities large and small to assess the real current situation of accessibility to broadband Internet.

At Ooma, we are watching the national broadband plan very closely. With our charter to provide free U.S. calls and the elimination of recurring monthly home phone bills and no contracts, the extended access to broadband for all Americans is paramount to our continued expansion. We believe in the messages coming from organizations like Internet for Everyone, whose pillars include access, choice, openness, and innovation. We are excited for the New Year and seeing how this plan of action unfolds. Until then, let’s stay tuned.

Dec. 8 2009 — 9:28 am | 13 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

HD – Not just for your TV

When you think of HD, you probably think about that beautiful 42 inch flat screen in your living room beaming news, sports, entertainment all in beautiful 1080p. Soon, there will be a new HD setup in your living room – don’t worry, your flat screen stays where it is. I’m talking about HD Voice.

What is HD Voice?

Technical Definition: also called wideband voice, it refers to the use of wideband technology to provide a deeper clarity and better audio experience in VoIP Communications. Traditional telephony is based on sampling the sound stream 8,000 times a second, and constraining the reproduction of the sound spectrum to the range between 200Hz on the low end to 3.3KHz on the high end—and fitting it into a 64Kbps Bandwidth. In HD voice, a wideband codec doubles the sampling rate and more than doubles the width of the sound spectrum reproduced, from 50Hz to 7KHz. This adds significant depth and nuance to the transmitted sound—and it reduces the bandwidth requirement to 32Kbps, half that of PSTN  transmission.   via webopedia

Translation: Your calls sound really damn good.

Isn’t it funny that we, as consumers, have demanded (and received) improvements to our audio and visual entertainment systems, yet, when we pick up the phone and call our friends and family we’re perfectly content relying on a technology that hasn’t been improved in over 60 years? IP telephony is capable of fairly breathtaking sound improvements.  It’s time for consumers to take a look at how HD Voice can improve the overall quality, accuracy and reliability of their phone experience.

Dec. 7 2009 — 2:00 pm | 5 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

What is VoIP, anyway?

You hear about people using the Internet as a telephone service, and how it can save hundreds of dollars in phone bills. But what exactly is ‘VoIP’? Is it just another popular buzzword and passing fad… or will this actually have staying power to change the way we make phone calls?

VoIP stands for voice over IP (internet protocol), and we think it might just be the way you’ll be talking over the phone in the very near future. It transmits the sounds you make over the Internet infrastructure, using the IP protocol. Sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo, so just why do so many people get excited by this technology?

VoIP is cheap, super cheap… in fact, sometimes even free. VoIP eliminates those recurring costs that come with POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) while gaining cool, innovative functionality. But we’ll get to the cool functionality in a minute… So, what do you need to use VoIP? A lot of bells and whistles?

Nope – you don’t need to be a geek or have a lot of “things” to start taking advantage of the benefits of Voice over IP – you only need an Internet connection and minimal hardware like a VoIP home phone system to start making free calls right away. For reasons like these, the VoIP market continues to expand rapidly, with predicted numbers rising into the millions in just a few years. In fact, a recent Yankee Group Consumer Survey told us that 43 percent of consumers who currently don’t have a home phone would be interested in getting one if there were no monthly fee, a use case where VoIP fits perfectly.

So, you mentioned cool functionality? What’s that all about? Well, when you think about it… what new innovation has your regular land line brought to you since touch tone was introduced in the 1970s? Probably not much since. While each provider of VoIP varies, with Ooma, features like caller ID, call waiting, voice mail and 911 service are all included at no extra charge. Also, most VoIP providers, including Ooma, offer pennies per minute international calling rates which becomes a thrilling proposition if you talk to friends, family and colleagues overseas with some regularity. The list of cool stuff goes on… and on… and on, but we don’t have enough time to get into it now; we promise to cover that in future posts.

There are so many ways of using and benefitting from VoIP technology. We recognize that every household and use case is different. How will your household benefit from VoIP? Or are you already on board with the trend? Let us know in the comments.


Founded in 2004, Ooma offers a consumer electronics device that provides free, U.S. telephone calling and advanced telephony services to its global base of customers. Ooma delivers exceptional call quality and the reliability of traditional phone service at a fraction of the cost, in a sleek and innovative design. Ooma is available at more than four thousand leading retailers and online destinations. For more information, go to http://ooma.com or http://blog.ooma.com.

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