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TMCNet:  maaii Review - New VoIP App Similar to Viber

[February 28, 2012]

maaii Review - New VoIP App Similar to Viber

Originally posted on VoIP & Gadgets Blog, here: http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/voip/maaii-review---new-voip-app-similar-to-viber.asp.

maaii-iphone-call-on-hold.png
maaii pronounced as “mahy-ee” or “My-ee” is a free mobile VoIP application for iPhone and Android featuring Facebook integration and it comes bundled with 100 free minutes ($1.90). However, as part of their launch they're recharging each users balance back to $1.90 each day, thus giving each user 100 free VoIP calling minutes every day!

I decided to take the app for a test drive on my iPhone 4S. The maaii app will run in the background unless you force the app closed. Thus, you can receive inbound calls very quickly without waiting for the app to load. However, even if you have the app completely closed it supports notifications of chats and calls so you can press the notification and instantly launch the app to accept the call or respond to the chat message.

Registration was a snap. When you first launch the app you enter in your mobile phone number. Then you are sent a text message with a PIN to activate it. Similar to many mobile VoIP apps, including Viber, it uses this phone number for your outbound CallerID. So your contacts simply see this phone number when you make a VoIP call to them using the maaii service.

Facebook Integration
When you first launch you have the option of connecting to your Facebook account. maaii allows you to call your Facebook friends that are also using maaii. Your Facebook friends do not see your phone number and can call via your Facebook ID credentials instead of with your mobile number. All calls using maaii-to-maaii users are free. In addition to free phone calls to other maaii users you also can send free chat or instant messages. Users can also call & chat for free with their Facebook friends that are also using the maaii application.

Dialing
From the dialer when you initiate a call it gives you the option of a maaili call (VoIP using your minutes) or a regular mobile call using your cellular network. I really liked the predictive dialer feature, which as you type it matches contacts in your phone's address book as seen here:
maaii-iphone-predictive-dialing-address-book.PNG

Also, maaii uses your device's phone book to see which of your friends are already using the application. If they are, you can see them instantly in your maaii contact list.

The chat feature worked as expected and it supports the iPhone's international emoji keyboard so you can use the built-in emoticons from the chat interface.

Call Quality and Latency
After the call connected over WiFi I did some subjective audio quality testing. The sound quality was excellent during my test calls. I'm sure this has a lot to do with the fact they've licensed SPIRIT's TeamSpirit Voice Engine Mobile and TeamSpirit Voice Engine PC SDKs to power it with HD audio codecs. I did measure the latency and noticed that the latency from the the iPhone side of the call could be as long as 1.05s and was usually around 1, which is a little above the minimum 250ms (0.25s) that the human ear and mind can usually tolerate. From the remote phone side (landline) to the iPhone the latency was better measuring at 0.61s.

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