Sunday, October 28, 2012

Viber Application Review

I've been using Viber on both my Blackberry Bold 9700 and my Samsung Nexus-S for approximately 1 week and I thought that now was a good time to write a short review on it. Even though I installed/used the program both on my AndroidOS phone (Samsung Nexus-S) and m Blackberry phone (Bold 9700), the majority of my review is based on me using the program on my Blackberry since I was mainly looking for a cross-platform chat program since there were some things that I didn't like about Touch or Kik. Viber is also available for the iOS platform but unfortunately I wasn't able to install it on my iPhone 3GS because I haven't updated the OS in awhile and the version of Viber in the Apple Apps Store isn't compatible with the iOS version that I am still running on m iPhone 3GS.

Viber is a cross-platform phone OS application that allows for voice chat as well as text chat. On the Blackberry platform, it only allows for text chat. According to documentation on the company's website, there are plans to include voice chat capabilities to the Blackberry version of the program but based on the VoIP applications that I've used/tried on my Blackberry, I find it doubtful that it will include VoIP capabilities and if it does, I would expect that the sound quality to not be as good as what it is for the Android platform or the iOS platform.

What I like about Viber is that the registration process is very simple and works via the phone number that is registered as opposed to a username/userID. This makes it easy to add people (or know when people are using Viber) since you don't have to ask them for their username/userID. It also integrates with your phone's address book so that you are notified if anyone in your addressbook is using Viber. If someone has you in their address book (and they have Viber) but you don't have that person in our address book, he/she won't appear as a Viber user in our Viber application.

Registration occurs via SMS or in case your mobile phone isn't capable of receiving SMS (because it is blocked), you can also register the program by receiving an automated voice call. I've tested both and both work without any issues. With the SMS registration option, you receive an SMS on your phone indicating a 4 digit code which you must enter into the Viber program. With the automated voice call option, your phone will ring and you will received an automated message with a 4 digit code that you must enter into the Viber program. In cases of installs/uninstalls, you can only register the phone number twice within a 24 hour period and the application will only work on 1 phone at a time (with the same phone number). If installing onto a second phone and if you were to use the same phone number, Viber would automatically unregister the first phone from its system.

Something else that I like about Viber is that because it integrates with your address book is that the person's name in Viber (if they obviously have Viber installed on their phone) will appear exactly as it does in our address book. It is your phone so why should your contact be able to specify what name/nickname appears on your phone.

Whenever one of the people in your address book install (or have Viber) installed on their cellphone, you will receive a message that they have Viber installed on their device. Some people might have privacy concerns regarding this notification. I don't have any problem with this notification because the contacts will only receive a notification regarding the fact that I've installed Viber if I'm already in their address book so they would already have my contact information and be able to contact me irregardless of whether I had Viber installed or not.

There was a brief problem during my testing period with the text chat on my Blackberry. According to the company's Facebook page, this was due to a problem with the server (Amazon) that they were using but all in all I find the text chat to be very good.

In terms of the VoIP capabilities of the program on my Android phone, I haven't really tested this but it allows you to voice chat only with people in your contacts and does not call phone numbers via VoIP. Because the VoIP capabilities/quality of the call would not only depend on your internet bandwidth/quality but also on the internet bandwidth/quality of the person you're speaking with, for the time being, I don't really have a need for this. I use other phone applications that are 100% VoIP and call actual phone numbers using the internet which doesn't rely on whether the person I'm calling has a data plan or is connected to the internet via WiFi.

If you have any questions/comments regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that comments are moderated and any comment that contains a URL link (whether embedded or not) will be automatically flagged as being spam and will not be posted.

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