When Apple Inc. first unveiled the iPad back in January, many detractors complained that, despite all of the hype, the device was little more than an oversized iPhone — except for the phone part. Even so, Apple managed to move some 300,000 iPads in the first few days of sales this week. Some estimates had it even higher. For those buyers, the iPad’s lack of telephone capabilities obviously did not matter.
Whether or not Apple’s iPad becomes another piece of disruptive technology remains to be seen; however, VoIP services vendor Truphone is upping the appeal of the device by offering an app that brings VoIP capabilities to the iPad.
Truphone is similar to Skype, Google Talk and other VoIP applications in that it uses the Internet to route phone calls, bypassing traditional phone lines. According to Truphone, all calls to other Truphone, Skype, or Google Talk users are free, while calls to a landline or mobile phone in the United States cost 5 cents per minute, or even less with a monthly plan.
While the concept behind Truphone proves appealing, in practice users may find the using the iPad as a phone a bit ridiculous, unless of course they use a wired or Bluetooth headset. In that case, the iPad might prove to be the next piece of killer technology for businesses both large and small.
For solution providers, the iPad-Truphone combination could create some new opportunities, especially in vertical markets that leverage mobility and tablet technologies, such as insurance companies, medical practices and shipping organizations. Offering a solution that combines mobile computing with unified communications and the ability to process forms or take notes may change how people interact with technology and could bring worthwhile margins and service opportunities to aggressive solution providers.