We thought the phone call had died long ago when text messages took to the fore. But it looks like talking to your mates is about to become the norm once more, if new smart call apps have anything to do with it.
Former Microsoft chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, is pushing his new app, Talko, that he says will reinvent phone calls. But it's got competition with Skype, Apple Facetime and Google Hangouts. He can see the future of calls is changing though, thanks to 4G.
Ozzie, on the idea behind Talko said, "I asked myself, what if the net had come before the phone: how would voice be woven into our online experience?" While other calling apps already exist for VoIP (Voice over IP) calls, these smarter functional calling apps will be the way forward.
WhatsApp has already announced it will be offering phone calls via data using 4G and it's only a matter of time before all calls are over this bandwidth. It means higher call quality, the ability to see the person you're talking to, and sharing files. For businesses this is ideal as it not only allows for conference calls but does it for free, wherever a person has a mobile connection. This could save money on paid-for conference services and in some cases could even negate the need for an office.
Outside of business Talko and the like will also be more common as people choose to make calls over data rather than the traditional 2G or 3G network. Higher quality calls is one huge pull, but smarter calling is also a factor. Imagine being in a call to a friend and being able to tag parts of a call so you can refer back to the call, which is being recorded, later.
You'll be able to send a voicemail like a text message that can be read in the same app. Imagine replying to all, like in an email, except doing it with your voice to the group. Even sending files, while in the call, could be possible making chatting about that new YouTube video even easier than in person.
Talko is an impressive sounding call app but we expect this to be the tip of the iceberg with the big names following and plenty of third party app copies to be in tow soon.
Now the only thing holding back the second mobile phone call revolution is data connections. With 4G network expansion the major focus of networks, and even the government, it won't be long before your always-on data connection is better than your phone's network ever was.