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World's Smallest Wifi Phone - Nokia 6300i (and yes, it runs Gizmo5!)

I want to hear what you think about wifi phones! Take our super quick survey and get a chance to win a Nokia 6300i wifi phone!

Nokia just released the 6300i mobile phone. At first glance it looks like a small but unremarkable candy bar shaped phone. But inside this stainless steel backed case is a communication device with remarkable functionality packed into the tiniest of spaces. The 6300 is currently the best selling phone in Europe and the 'i' denotes a powerful new addition - wifi. This phone auto-detects wifi hotspots at home, work or while you move about. Those hotspots can be open or requiring a password which the 6300i handles gracefully. You can use the wifi for any activity on the phone including fast web browsing, instant messaging and most notably VOIP phone calls. In fact, the phone can perform any communication function with or without a SIM card. (Previous high-end Nokia wifi phones have insisted on having a SIM card before using the wifi radio.)



To use VOIP calling on the 6300i, you select Internet Telephone: Add New Account which takes you to the new account setup for Gizmo5. In seconds you can setup an account and be making VOIP calls anywhere in the world. Out of the box you can call millions of people for free with surprisingly good call quality:
  • Gizmo5 desktop users (Mac, Win, Lin)
  • 11% of all US telephone numbers
  • Other Nokia wifi phones (N80, N95, e61i)
  • Nokia wifi tablets (N800, N770)
  • Any SIP device or software

For calls to regular telephone numbers you can purchase credits from my.gizmo5.com as well as get a local telephone number from 25 countries so that other phones can call you over wifi. While some people may use the phone only as a wifi phone, more likely they will also have a SIM card with an account with a mobile carrier. For these instances the phone has a handy option in Setting: Call Type where you can select your preferred calling method. Whenever a number is dialed the phone can use wifi if available and if not use your other carrier (or vice versa).

Placing a call is as easy as dialing a number and clicking the green button. To make wifi calling even easier we created a custom version of Gizmo5 instant messenger to make wifi call to anyone in your IM addressbook by selecting their name and clicking the Call button. This works for any contact on any of the major IM networks including (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Gtalk, Myspace, etc). This is the first time that wifi calling has been combined with instant messaging on a low end phone.

This is not Nokia's first wifi phone, but it is significant for several reasons:
  • It has a street price of $200-300 (vs $400-900 for previous phones)
  • Power utilization has improved so it can do ~3 hrs VoIP calls and ~4 days WLAN standby (historically wifi phones have had awful battery life)
  • It's Nokia's first s40 wifi phone (the majority of Nokia's phones are built with s40 parts so it will be very easy to create many more wifi models)
I received an early prototype of the Nokia 6300i and had a chance to carry it around as my day to day phone. I had the flexibility to make calls, browse and do IM in places where I don't normally have cell coverage like my house. One useful aspect of the 6300i is that you can set the phone to default to use wifi and use your carrier only if wifi is not available. This selection happens fast and with no user interaction. A nifty feature is that when you place a wifi call, you can determine what caller ID number is displayed. Persons you are calling will have no idea you are using wifi and if they return the call it will go to the correct number.

Today it costs about $3 to add wifi to a mobile phone. That price will come down rapidly as more wifi phones ship and I expect within a couple of years for the majority of phones to be be shipping with wifi capabilities. Nokia has just now announced this phone so it may take a few more weeks before it is widely available for purchase.

We want to hear what you think about wifi phones! Take our super quick survey and get a chance to win a Nokia 6300i wifi phone!

Key specs for Nokia 6300i:
  • Connect to wireless networks and access broadband connection with WLAN
  • Make inexpensive voice over IP calls
  • 3GPP video streaming
  • 2-megapixel camera with 8x digital zoom and full screen viewfinder
  • 30MB internal user memory and 512MB memory card (expandable to 4gbs)
  • FM radio
--MR
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