I have a dream!
And since I’m not half as good a man as I’d like to be, my dream has absolutely nothing to do with freedom, peace, equality and happiness.
I’m dreaming of one device to rule them all! 🙂
I don’t want to have two phones, for example. I own the greatest mobile phone on the market, the iPhone 3GS. I also own an old SIEMENS Gigaset E45 DECT Handset for landline calls – and for being reachable for cheap by others.
Should you also read my German posts (or use Google Translate to translate them into your native language), you already know that, since recently, I’m the more or less proud owner of a Fritz!Box 7390 – basically an IAD on steroids. It is also a, well, somewhat-featured VoIP device, enabling SIP clients to make and receive calls via the landline.
During the last couple of days I conducted an experiment: can my iPhone in combination with an installed SIP client replace my old, shabby DECT handset? I used two different SIP clients on my iPhone for this experiment: Wi-Fone and the newly released Fritz!App – an App from the vendor of my Fritz!Box.
For those of you, whose greatest virtue isn’t patience: no, it can’t. And here’s why:
While it is fairly easy to use the installed SIP client for outgoing calls (open App, type number or choose contact, hit dial – and off you go), receiving calls is not so easy.
First of all, the App has to be RUNNING in order to being able to receive calls. This will be possible with iPhone OS 4.0 on newer devices, since it will introduce „multi tasking“.
As for now, I had to jailbreak my iPhone 3GS and install „backgrounder“ – a magical tool that works pretty much exactly the way Apple’s multi tasking feature will work.
Backgrounder works surprisingly well and with only one App „backgrounded“, I didn’t notice much of additional battery draining.About an hour later someone called me on my landline number – and only the DECT handset rang. The iPhone remained silent.
After a couple of minutes, I realized what was going wrong: those SIP client need a connection to my local network to receive calls. The iPhone, however, turns off the WiFi connection a couple of minutes (seconds?) after the device is locked – to safe some battery life.
So, what now? Google to the rescue! The Cydia „App store“ has an App called „Insomnia“ to offer. This neat little tool does but one thing: keeping the WiFi connection alive, no matter what.
So, for now, in order to replace my DECT handset I need three tools on my iPhone (the SIP client, Backgrounder, Insomnia). And still, this doesn’t work all too great.
Okay, with this setup, everything works as expected – someone calls and both, my DECT handset and my iPhone ring. However, it doesn’t work comfortably.
The SIP clients I tried where not able to display any notification while ringing. That means: in order to answer the call I need to: 1) notice that the phone is ringing, 2) find it, 3) unlock the phone, 4) find the SIP client, 5) start the SIP client, 6) hit the answer button.
My conclusion: for now I have to go on using my DECT handset. However, I hope that iPhone OS 4 will open a few more doors in that perspective. SIP clients need to work similar to the original „phone App“ on the iPhone.