Now that Apple is allowing VOIP on iPhone and iPod Touch, Applications like Skype and Vonage from App store are preferred for VOIP. It is still a big challenge to set up VOIP with microphone and speakers working. I installed both Skype and Vonage for Mobile. This post details some of my iPod Touch experiences with Bluetooth , Using Microphone, Turning speaker On & making cheap international calls using VOIP.
Unlocking Bluetooth In iPod Touch 2G
Apple did not unlock Bluetooth in iPod Touch 2G version because of software reasons though hardware i.e. Broadcom bluetooth chip supports. OS 3.0 and above which is now available for $4.95 from Apple website has software that unlocks Bluetooth and also has copy & paste functionality enabled. (Look for review of iPod Touch 2G here).
The Bluetooth option is not fully supported as iPod touch 2nd gen does not support Hands-free profile. iTouch 2G with OS 3.0 and above does only A2DP meaning you can only listen to stereo music but not use as regular hands-free on iPod Touch. This is a big blocking issue with Bluetooth if some one wants to use VOIP in iPOD Touch.
Here is the comparison chart from Apple –
May be its a hidden feature like Bluetooth which Apple took $10 from ipod touch 2 gen users to enable Bluetooth. Now to enable Hands-Free profile may be they will take another $10 in their 4.0 release.
Summary : Bluetooth allows me only to listen to music
Using Microphone In iPod Touch 2G
iPod Touch lacks in-built microphone which is issue for VOIP. There are pricey ones as well as in expensive microphones sold from various retailers. The one from Apple costs around $79. I choose $4.99 capsule size microphone from Meritline. This microphone worked very well with my testing with Skype and Vonage.
Turning speaker On While Using Microphone In iPod Touch 2G
Since Microphone is plugged into audio jack the speaker is muted. There is no way settings wise one can enable this option. Workaround is if one is using Skype then the app gives option to turn on/off speaker. Here is you tube video describing how to turn on speaker with Microphone.
With Vonage the speaker button is still disabled and there is no support to enable it.
Making cheap international calls using VOIP In iPod Touch 2G
Skype charges around 9 cents to call India which is not that attractive deal. Here is the Skypes rates list.
Vonage Mobile is the best so far with $24.99 world plan that includes calling to India and other 60 destinations. But with microphone the speaker is not on, the workaround is use expensive ear phones + microphone that Apple sells.
Hope Apple releases iPod Touch with built-in microphone and FULL Bluetooth support so users can with ease use VOIP apps like Skype and Vonage.