Is It Possible? Is UMA Finally Coming To The Android Platform On T-Mobile?

The last couple of weeks have seen us discuss both on the blog and in our forums the lack of Android and UMA or Wi-Fi calling services and our desire to see it come to Magenta.  We’ve seen our hopes rise with the introduction of a Kineto Wireless service that is capable of bringing UMA to Android as demonstrated on a Samsung Vibrant.  Nothing gives me more hope than the following images that I present to you on this fine Sunday morning.  You’ll find two images that showing training screen(s) for employees showing off the upcoming addition of UMA to the Android platform.  Most important and what gives me more confidence in the accuracy of these images is the shot of the T-Mobile G2 received separately that shows the same icon as seen on the training screen images.  Of course, we can’t forget the image we posted earlier this week of the LG Optimus which also gave hope to Wi-Fi hotspot calling.  Things are looking good here!

However, before you run around the room screaming with excitement, we should mention a few things:

1)    As far as we’ve been told, there is at least one limitation with this new offering: there will be no handoffs to the mobile network like the current UMA services offer.  If you leave the wifi coverage area, the call will drop.

2)    This will NOT be available to all Android devices.  We were told it would be available only to “select new devices.”  You won’t be able to get it from the Android market and it’s possible devices will be getting OTA updates to activate the feature.  The above image looks like the shot came from the G2, as did our own picture down below. The second shot, however, looks like it might have come from a Samsung Vibrant so it’s possible that device would receive an update to this as well!  Though at this point, which phones would receive this feature is anyone’s guess.  Then again, we obviously have a great argument for both the G2 and the LG Optimus!

Let us point out that there has been no indication this feature will come right out of the box for the G2 so don’t lose hope if the phone doesn’t arrive October 6th with Wi-Fi calling activated.  It’s possible that the feature will be deployed via a future software update!

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  • Bernardos

    if wi-fi calling is truly unlimited, then someone should find a way to make an app that has free wireless tethering, make the phone connect to itself over wi-fi, and take advantage of an unlimited data plan for free calls everywhere!

    • j

      there is unlimited wifi calling on any device, the blackberry used to have an unlimited wifi calling feature but it is no longer available

    • swehes

      use Google Voice+Sipgate+Sipsocery=free phonecalls all over USA. Use SipDroid as your client. :) It works great.

    • ritz426

      If you have a rooted device, you can use barnacle wifi and wirelessly tether to your computer and call over skype! :)

  • Chris

    Does that say H+ in the notification bar?!? Awesome!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/T-Mobile-USA-UMA-Wifi-Calling/152085804808866 uma fan

    Best news ever! Come and support the T-Mobile facebook fan page!

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/T-Mobile-USA-UMA-Wifi-Calling/152085804808866

  • FunkmasterC
  • Special K

    As long as I can make/receive calls + send/receive SMS via Wifi on a G2, I will be a pleased camper; BIG TIME.

  • Jim

    Unrelated to this post, but love the new look of the blog, makes it way easier reading on my iPhone. Keep up the great work here guys

  • kyle

    Gotta see a speed test with that H+ icon.. soon!

  • Ray

    Why would you want to make a call/receive texts over wifi tho like what’s the difference?

    • techiechicky

      Ray ~ it’s not so much of a ‘want to’ it’s a need to. For the many locations that there is no cell tower coverage, to be able to make/receive calls and texts over a private or public wi-fi signal. For example, shielded labs/hospitals, homes, basements, cruise ships, etc…
      I live in a dead spot. Middle of th burbs but a dead spot ~ the only carrier that covers my house is ATT. To be able to pull a call off my wi-fi is perfect and the biggest draw for me to T-Mobile. Without Wi-Fi calling I have to either sacrifice calls/texts while at home or change to ATT.

      • Ray

        @Techiechicky
        Oh true I didn’t think of that lol. That is helpful but would it be charging you minutes? I don’t care about text because I have unlimited

      • techiechicky

        @Ray ~ yes, the way UMA is set up currently, the minutes/texts come out of my plan just like they would from a tower.

        There was an unlimited T-Mobile Hotspot or T-mo@home plan that could be added for 10/month that would make the wi-fi minutes unlimited but it’s not currently offered.

        That said, I don’t think we fully know what this new ‘wi-fi calling’ is yet. I would *assume* it draws from your plan until/unless that is made very clear or you see your first bill after using it. :)

    • the taxidermist

      international ; )

  • Ted C..

    Let’s be clear that this isn’t UMA/GAN which is probably why they’ve chosen not to advertise it as such. Frankly this isn’t much better than putting Skype or any other VOIP app on your phone since it won’t do handoffs (in EITHER direction) and doesn’t appear to handle SMS or Data seemlessly either. About the only thing you get out of this that you can’t already do using other applications is the ability to using your existing cellphone number when making a Wifi-based call.

    Count me as completely unimpressed.

    • reddragon72

      All UMA is VOIP. shoot even a regular cell signal is VOIP now using the digital network rather than and analog signal. Also BB UMA has a hand off because UMA is built into the OS and not a secondary function or an APP. This is an “after thought” and therefor it has limitations. What it does is allow you to use is your current cell number over WIFI with all features and functions included like usual, but you cannot move out of the WIFI range. So it is like going outside you house to make a call if you have crappy signal, but once you step inside your house you loose connection.

      I find this to be completely and totally satisfactory. I mean come on, your going to be able to use your phone in places you normally can’t if there is an open WIFI.

    • Bob

      “About the only thing you get out of this that you can’t already do using other applications is the ability to using your existing cellphone number when making a Wifi-based call.”

      That is it exactly. To be able to use your own number to make calls in a wifi area if you are in a no coverage area like in a basement or in a building or business that has open wifi but you can’t get a signal. C’mon Ted, how much more plainer than that can it be to you why people want this?

    • k-mack

      Not true, as far as I understand it. It can do everything except the handoffs so it is just like UMA except for the handoffs. Allowing you to make calls and receive calls from your cellphone number is the whole point of wifi calling and shouldn’t be compared to skype, fring, etc.

  • http://www.examiner.com/smartphones-in-hartford/t-mobile-g2-set-to-feature-wi-fi-calling Charles W.

    This is a really good start by T-Mo to finally get the wheels turning on Wi-Fi calling, although limited it’s still a start. But I do have to say no tethering is a downer, this will make those N1 folks out there (I was one of them) stay in their N1’s a little longer. Not allowing the tethering feature on a “vanilla Android 2.2″ goes against something right?

  • http://www.we-light-this.com Homer

    @Ted C why do u say that? isn’t it obvious enough?hmmm…

  • Ryan

    “1) As far as we’ve been told there is at least one limitation with this new offering: there will be no handoffs to the mobile network like the current UMA services offer. If you leave the wifi coverage area, the call will drop.”

    While traveling internationally, this is actually a feature so I don’t get hit with crazy roaming bills.

    Example why I love UMA:
    On my recent trip to India, I made 18 minutes worth of calls on their AirTel network resulting in $53.82 (OMG $2.99 a minute). I also use 95 minutes while on UMA on my BB8520, which would have been and additional $284.05.

  • just saying!

    If you guys want a mid- range phone without having to pay for data service plan just get the Nuron!
    just saying…..

  • Wilma Flintstone

    I’ve got mixed opinions about this.

  • JAM

    I used to think no hand-off would be no big deal. And I guess it still would be OK if it didn’t hand off in the middle of a call. But what I would hate to have to do, would be to manually activate something to go from the GSM network to WiFi.
    What I don’t understand is if “true” UMA/GAN wasn’t selling for Tmo, why would a crippled version? I love/need the UMA in my BB, but hate the OS. That’s why I’m looking forward to UMA on Android that works as well on BB.

    • reddragon72

      because BB has the feature built into te OS so it is integrated completely. They are doing an addon for Android so it will be lacking in the handoff since they cannot integrate it like the BB without reworking the Android OS at the core.

  • CJ

    The big question is: will WiFi calls count against your allocated minutes?

    • reddragon72

      No change from being on the cell network. min/txt/mms all count against your account amount. The only change is data will no longer count towards that “unlimited” 5gig plan.

      • ManoloDF

        But do txt/mms go over wifi when UMA is enabled on android like it works on current Full UMA blackberries or Nokia phones?

  • ManoloDF

    I Have one very important question, in true UMA everytihng goes over UMA (calls and texts/mms) It basically simulates everything, on these android devices will it be the same? Texts/MMS etc will also come through over wifi? If not it seems neutered to me.

  • SIPDUDE

    Could be UMA or could be SIP/IMS…WiFi calling is the service/app and doesn’t tell you the technology.

  • olypdd

    My BB Curve would seamlessly transition from cell to wifi during calls. Too bad that won’t be the case with new phones. It worked great most of the time.

    By the way and off topic a bit- One of this pitfalls of the Nexus One is the touchscreen and sensor used. I won’t buy another device with the same. I wonder if the G2 is using the new ATMEL technology like the Galaxy S and Evo, etc.? If not, I will not keep it. After dealing with touchscreen issues on the N1, I am happy to wait for the right device. I believe HTC is using this in their new devices now, BUT, I would like this confirmed for the G2.

  • k-mack

    Yes, texts/mms will both be supported, I understand. It will all go through the wifi. All the features are the same with regular UMA except for handoffs, so that is good!

    I am also aware of the nexus one touchscreen problem. It is definitely a different/better touchscreen in the G2. They acknowledged the problem with the N1 sensors and must have made a change. I’m not sure if it used the ATMEL maxTouch touchscreen but I hear that they are also starting being used in newer HTC phones. If that is true and it is in the G2, the features are:

    Unlimited touches
    Low power consumption
    Fast response — completely redraws screen every 4/1000 of a second (4ms) to eliminate recalibration issues
    Excellent signal-to-noise ratio for superior precision — 3x better than competitive products
    Superior performance for first-touch response — 3x better than competitive products
    Unambiguous, unlimited touch support
    Responsive user interface: > 250 Hz report rate for a single touch
    Extremely low current consumption: < 1.8 mW in “touch-ready” state
    Two touch adjacency of less than 10 mm on a 4.3″ touchscreen
    Small footprint with few external components
    Supports stylus, fingernails, and gloves
    Grip and face suppression functionality: avoids false touches
    Size and angle of touch supported
    Screen sizes up to 10.2″ are supported by a single chip
    Proximity channel support

    sounds very nice to me!

  • xalucardx

    its that the G2? well another reason to change my vibrant for the G2!! (if it is)

  • now_onTMO

    i’ll need diz for me vibrantz!

    i wish and hope the forthcoming (hopefully eeheh) update will include this feature..
    but when? i’ll need this more than the gps fix..

    thanks

  • JJ

    Doesnt look like it appears on the new G2 out of the box anyway :-( I was hoping for a small miracle!! lol Oh well hopefully in an OTA update SOON!!!!

  • upnorth85

    guys hand off is no big deal. I have a BB with UMA and frequently travel overseas. I always switch off my tower connection and only connect through my wi-fi to the UMA. I then have unlimited calling. On another point, I have a laptop with Windows 7. When I go overseas I buy the wi-fi connection and then I set up my own personal wi-fi using a free software called conectify. I then connect my cell phone to get the UMA on it, and lo behold I have a free unlimited phone while I am in my hotel room. I also can download heaps of data and not have to pay $15 per MB (ouch!)

    • Jack

      T-mobile is catching on to this over seas travel, and using wi-fi/uma. They are starting to charge.

      Bastages!