It always was our passion to find simple and elegant solutions to problems which seem to be complex and challenging. We grew up studying math and programming, and as kids enjoyed connecting pieces of technology puzzles.
Talkatone was born as one of such fun projects. We just wanted to hack things up and make things possible. We didn’t think about innovations of any sort, we just wanted to make simple real-time communication tool which works everywhere. And when it was done we shared it with the world.
Talkatone works, it works for us, it works for our friends, it works for many others. In certain cases it’s just a toy, in certain cases it’s a pain killer. Products like this always make us believe that we are doing the right thing. When people tell us how thankful they are, when we hear their stories it makes us happy. If you want to tell us yours, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We are at the very beginning of this journey, but we envision that in several years from now all sorts of real-time communications will be happening mostly over the Internet. It’s free and belong to people. People won’t need to spend time thinking about ways to communicate instantly and freely. Because it’s a world where we are all connected. It’s a small world, it’s our world.
Talkatone is a small, independent, privately held company located in Silicon Valley, California. All of us are engineers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Talkatone? How do I use it?
Talkatone gives you free calls, text messages and real-time location sharing on your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad via 3G or WiFi connection. Talkatone uses Google Talk and Google Voice services and bridges the gap between instant messaging on your computer and regular cellular calls on your mobile device.
Basic Talkatone product is free. Wherever you can find data connection you can make a call or send a text message. In order to get most out of Talkatone you need to have Google Voice Account and setup Google services.
Why should I use Talkatone?
Talkatone is one of the first full mobile phone apps which work via data connection. Thus you don’t spend your minutes, don’t pay for roaming, keep your number with you wherever you are and communicate with your friends as soon as you get connected.
Talkatone makes real-time communication rich and free. And it only going to get better over time.
Do I need an account? How can I register one?
Talkatone doesn’t require a special account. Instead it uses Google account to connect to Google services. Please make sure you use your existing GMail (or your Google Apps) email address for user name and the correct password for that account.
If you don’t have a GMail account you can register one for free at gmail.com.
Is my Google account password safe?
Your Google username/password are stored on your iOS device and transmitted directly to Google over TLSv1-secured ecrypted connection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_Layer_Security).
We never have your username/password on our servers.
I forgot my Google password, can you help me to recover it?
We don’t have your password, it is only stored on your device. Since Talkatone uses Google accounts, you need to follow Google’s instructions to reset your password.
Can I use my Google Voice account while I travel?
After you activate Google Voice and set it up it will work across the globe if local regulations and networks there allow it. We have reports that people in UK, Australia, Singapore, France, Mexico, Russia, etc are using Google Voice through Talkatone.
But be aware of international data roaming charges! Emailing 1 photo is ~$50, 1 minute of Talkatone call easily could cost you $5-10 on 3G data roaming! So if possible, get a SIM card from a local provider with reasonable prices or use WiFi.
What devices are fully supported by Talkatone?
Talkatone relies on iOS4 VoIP backgrounding in order to receive messages and calls while Talkatone runs in background, so you need to have a multitasking-capable device. At this moment the following devices support multitasking:
- iPhone 3GS
- iPhone 4
- iPod Touch 3rd generation
- iPod Touch 4th generation
Note: We noticed that jailbreak may interfere with multi-tasking. We suspect that some jailbroken devices may disable WiFi/3G access if you send Talkatone to background.
Do you have Talkatone app for Android?
At the moment Android users cannot use Talkatone.
We are planning to introduce our first Android version soon.
Does Talkatone work on iOS 3 devices?
Unfortunately no, Talkatone does not work on iOS 3 devices. We want to apologize for making the app very restrictive. There are technical reasons which forced us to make this choice.
The new iOS4 provides backgrounding mode. This allows Talkatone to receive calls instantaneously when the app is not active.
In old push mode Talkatone is not able to immediately receive call signal when it’s not active. Push model simply doesn’t work with voice well. And nobody wants to wait minutes until initial call signal will be delivered to the recipient device.
Are my friends invited to use Talkatone?
Definitely. When you invite your friends and they start using Talkatone you get high quality voice calls, unlimited text messaging and new features, such as location sharing.
Is 3G or WiFi connection required?
Although we definitely recommend using WiFi or good 3G connection to make calls it’s not required to use Talkatone. You can send text messages while using legacy Edge data connect and in some cases even make calls to gTalk friends.
How to make a call/how much does it cost to call?
We support 2 types of calls:
- Google Talk for Talkatone-to-Talkatone or Talkatone-to-Mac/PC calls. Those calls are free, even international ones (although data charges may still apply, especially when using Talkatone over a cellular network. Please refer to cell phone’s data plan for details).
In order to make this type of calls, the person you are calling should be in your friends (contacts) list, be online and use a compatible client (which knows how to handle voice calls), ex. Talkatone.
- 2. Google Voice calling, i.e. calls to regular telephone numbers. If you are in the U.S. or Canada you can have Google Voice account registered at voice.google.com. Please check Google Voice international calling rates directly with Google when using this service at https://www.google.com/voice/rates (currently it is free for calls to U.S. and Canada). Data charges may still apply, just like in a case of GTalk calling.
Is Talkatone Ad-supported?
Yes, Talkatone is an ad-supported application. We mostly use iAds.
I cannot call anywhere, please help
The issue likely happens because you haven’t setup you Google services yet and didn’t not make at least one test call to the phone from GMail web chat (on your Mac or PC). During this call Google will ask you to accept legal terms of service.
Please also make sure to include the country code when calling. The US/Canada code (+1) is pre-filled when you open the dial pad, don’t remove it unless you are making an international call.
How to setup incoming calls?
- Please follow the instructions outlined in this Blog post.
- Please make sure to sign out of GMail web chat after you done using it. Otherwise, if you just close the browser or navigate away from the GMail page, then incoming calls may be forwarded into the closed browser session instead of Talkatone for up to 30 minutes. This is the most common cause of not receiving incoming calls with Talkatone.
Is it possible to improve voice quality on 3G/WiFi?
Google Voice calls to regular phone numbers are using plain uncompressed audio without packet loss correction. We are working on our own voice transcoding on our servers to introduce better tolerance to network imperfections. It will be released within next several weeks.
You can also try to play with settings on your WiFi router and try to select cleaner WiFi channel (default auto selection is often not the best choice. Several users reported that they were able to significantly improve call quality by picking better channel).
If your friends are using Talkatone then you can call them using gTalk contacts. If they don’t have Talkatone yet feel free to invite them and you’ll have much better voice quality.
My Firewall is blocking voice traffic. What should I do?
Talkatone needs the following ports open for outgoing traffic:
- TCP ports: 5222 (or 80, but we recommend both, otherwise battery drain may increase) to talk.google.com. Note that multiple IPs may respond to this DNS name – they are subject to change by Google and are using Geo DNS – i.e. will resolve to “closest” set of IPs. This is the main connection and is used for IM and call signaling.
- For media we use ICE (STUN+Relay) firewall traversal. Usually corporate routers would not allow STUN traversal anyway (they are usually double-NAT). Therefore, we need to be able to establish “outbound” connection to UDP port 19295 (relay servers) and ideally 19302 (STUN). Please note that IPs for those outbound ports will vary and may even come from different networks. So we recommend allowing establishing UDP connection to *:19295 (and this will allow server to send “responses” on this “connection”).
I do not hear anything during the call (especially on iPod Touches)
“No-audio” on iPhones or iPod touches is a pretty common problem. Please check our Blog post where we outlined most obvious causes and solutions.
Do let us know if problem persists and you are not able to resolve it, we’ll help you.
Can I use Bluetooth headsets/handsfree kits with iPodTouch/iPad?
We’ve discovered that iPod and iPad hardware do not have proper blue-tooth profile enabled:
Audio calling requires “Hands Free” profile (i.e. play audio AND record from microphone at the same time). iPad and iPod Touch support many other profiles, but not this one.