Especially after the release of the much vaunted and highly anticipated Surface, Windows devices are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. Windows phone sales have jumped, as avid readers of this blog already know. These devices provide extraordinary opportunities to connect with people from all over the world. However, calls, video chat and messaging can waste minutes and rack up those monthly charges, so it’s best to invest (most are free) in a VoIP app for your Windows device).
VoIP, as most already know, stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. So, instead of using a data plan or traditional landlines to make a call, voice data is transferred via the internet. In the case of Windows devices, this is done through an app. These apps are probably most important on the Windows Phone because they can be used through the internet without using a data plan, no charges incurred for international calling and no wasted minutes.
Most VoIP apps today provide video chat, messaging, sharing, and calling. Sometimes having a direct phone number can cost money, but you can compare the costs and read user reviews on paying for various VoIP services residentially here.
Here are the 5 best VoIP apps for Windows devices:
Skype is the veritable king of mobile VoIP. It is the most popular VoIP app on all devices across all platforms. As usual, though, there is something special about the UI on a Windows device that trumps all the others.
Here are a couple of the awesome features for the Windows Phone that Skype is capable of:
– Multi-tasking during a call (i.e. talk to Grandma while you play Jetpack Joyride).
– Start conversations from the People Hub.
– Preview unread text messages on the Start screen.
– Increased settings personalization for the manner in which messages pop-up and how they are displayed on the lock screen.
Luckily, the Skype app is available for free across all the Windows devices, so you can use these same features on a Surface, Windows Phone, or Windows 8 computer.
Viber – Free
Truly the unsung hero of VoIP, Viber is a free app that is full of awesome features, all for free. Only just recently, Viber on the Windows Phone 8 has caught up to its Android and iOS brethren.
Here are the unique features for the Windows Phone 8 that Viber offers:
– Free calls with HD audio, gotta love that crystal clear sound.
– Beautiful lock screen notifications.
– A feature that allows a user to pin notifications to the start screen.
– Photo sharing between other Viber users.
– And, here’s the biggie, have group conversations with up to 40 participants. Why would you ever need to talk to 40 people at once, you ask? You probably won’t ever need to; but it’s nice to know that you can.
For now, Viber is only available for the Windows Phone and PC, but keep your ears to the ground, Surface owners.
Mobile VoIP – Free (kinda)
This app lets you make calls nationally or internationally inexpensively or for free. This app actually has you pick from a variety of VoIP providers to use through the app. So, it’s your choice which provider you’d like to use. I suggest reading the reviews on the different VoIP providers, as mentioned before.
This app has fewer features than the other apps, just place and take calls, but it’s most important feature is its ability to let you choose your own client for the cheapest international calling rates. Right now, it’s available for Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT.
Tango – Free
This app is one of my favorites. Tango is packed with extra features and add-ons. It is the opposite of the aforementioned Mobile VoIP app. Especially with its recent refresh, this app is a must-have VoIP app to communicate seamlessly across multiple devices and platforms.
Here are some of the more unique features of Tango:
– Custom ringtones for calls and MMS.
– Live Tile and toast notifications.
– Play games through the device with other Tango users.
– Send fun animations (i.e. a dog licking the screen)
– Edit photos through various filters and text.
The only bad thing about this app is that there might be too many features, and they try to make you use them all. Once you filter through what you do and do not want to use, though, it is very enjoyable to use. Right now, it’s available for the PC and Windows Phone.
Voxer – Not yet released
Voxer is the up-and-comer VoIP app. It is still in its beta version, but is set to release soon. This app is unique because it is a push-to-talk app. That means that the app works just like a walkie-talkie.
Here are some of the proclaimed features of the new Voxer app:
– Push-to-talk, as mentioned earlier. Any voice messages that come through that you miss are recorded and can be listened to later.
– Push-to-talk also has group interaction capabilities.
– Extreme notifications, just in case you frequently miss calls or messages, this feature makes sure that you hear notifications. I’m not certain what this sounds like, but I’m a little afraid.
– Create messages offline to send later or use WiFi, 3G, 4G, or Edge.
– Pro Version for businesses.
All the Voxer team needs to do is give the go ahead and this app will be available for Windows Phones. It’s a cross-platform app so you’ll be able to walkie-talkie chat with your friends that have other devices. It looks like the app will only be available on the Windows Phone, for now.
I hope these VoIP apps come in handy for your Windows devices. They are a great way to save money on text messaging, minutes, and data plans.
Demetrius is the self-proclaimed billiards champ of Nashville (no one else agrees). When he is not sinking shots and calling pockets, he is arguing with Apple and Android fanboys about how much better his Windows Phone is.