A Hangzhou-based start-up has snagged the fantastically gimmicky name WeiboCall – incorporating the word for China’s popular microblogging platform – to stick onto its free, multi-platform voice-call service. By its very nature as a VoIP service, it’s yet another potential Skype competitor.
The WeiboCall service has apps for iPhone and Android (pictured above), and accompanying extensions for Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and 360 Browser that make the PC-to-mobile voice calling possible.
WeiboCall, as its name suggests, supports signing-up using your Sina Weibo ID, to save users remembering another bunch of account details. To use the service, you can install the mobile app and/or browser extension, register your phone number with WeiboCall, and you might well see that some of your friends and contacts have done the same. Or not.
The start-up behind the service is Aoshiba, which is Chinese despite the Japanese-sounding name. Its founder, Chen Jin-sheng, says that he’s mindful of Chinese mobile users having restrictive GPRS or 3G data packages, and so has come up with some nifty and thrifty audio compression algorithms to get it down to – he claims – a mere 4kb per second.
There are numerous Chinese-made alternatives to this. The Chinese web and social media giant Tencent already has its own FaceTime-like service called Weishi, which I reviewed earlier this summer. And although that is more beautifully designed, it has no desktop client.
Take a look at the WeiboCall website, and hit the downloads section if you want to try it out. For some reason, the company has not yet sorted out Apple or Android developer accounts, so it just provides ‘.ipa’ and ‘.apk’ files as a direct download. On iPhone, that means you’ll need to be jailbroken in order to install the iOS app.
[Source: 36kr - article in Chinese]