Vid-biz: JooJoo, YouTube, OnLive

JooJoo Revamps Interface Ahead of Launch, Adds Local Video Playback — and Changes Color; the device formerly known as the TechCrunch tablet plays back Flash video streams and local content stored on a thumb drive, supports H.264 HD and many other codecs. (Engadget)
New YouTube App for Windows Mobile and Nokia S60 Phones; the site’s new Mobile App version 2.4 adds a new interface that works well with larger screens, among other things. (YouTube Blog)

How to: Build Your Personal Brand on YouTube;
changing a few settings can help you improve your branding. (Mashable)
ISPs, Publishers and Academics Voice Outrage at Digital Economy Bil; plan to disconnect file sharers from Internet causes backlash. (Out-Law.com)
Donkey-Politician Vid Keeps two Azerbaijani Bloggers in Jail; Adnan Hajizade and Emin Milli lost appeal against 2 and 2.5 year sentences that were motivated by them posting a satirical video online. (Ars Technica)
Your Interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Canada’s prime minister follows Obama’s example by responding to YouTube questions. (YouTube Blog)
OnLive Streaming Video Game Service Launches in June With One Huge Catch; a $15 subscription per month on top of video game rental fees could turn many gamers off. (DVICE)
Can a Mouse Cut the Cable?; a New York Times piece on people ditching cable has analyst Bruce Leichtman musing that cord cutters are “really just a bizarre breed of people, usually in New York or San Francisco, who don’t watch a lot of television in the first place.” (New York Times)

Nimbuzz: Voice, Social Networking and Instant Messaging in One

There are many apps available that try to bring together various communication protocols. I’m always interested in programs that manage multiple services, since for me, Adium on the Mac (s aapl) and its PC (s msft) relative, Pidgin, are indispensable for dealing with my eight (!) IM accounts.

After my recent post about the betas I use, I was introduced to Nimbuzz, an IM program that is now offering voice services in competition with Skype and Gizmo5 (which was recently purchased by Google).

The origins of Nimbuzz are in Europe. It claims a 20 percent market share in several European countries, and it’s popular in the Middle East. The company says that it has 12 million users, and is adding 40,000 users per day — not bad for a service that’s less than two years old. Nimbuzz is less well known in North America, but that may soon change. Read More about Nimbuzz: Voice, Social Networking and Instant Messaging in One

Google May Have Bought Gizmo5

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Gizmo5 founder Michael Robertson

Google (s GOOG) is rumored to have bought Gizmo5, provider of a SIP-based service, for an undisclosed amount of money, according to a report on TechCrunch. If true, the deal would add another arrow to Google’s quiver as it takes on incumbents Microsoft (s MSFT) and Cisco Systems (s CSCO) in the hotly contested collaboration market. While it does have Google Voice, the search engine giant lacks a truly enterprise-quality VoIP offering. Read More about Google May Have Bought Gizmo5

Skype’s Plan B to Stay in Business: Buy Gizmo5

Folks at Skype might be getting a tad desperate in their prolonged fight with JoltID, the intellectual property company controlled by the Skype founders — Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. And that’s why they might be looking to buy Gizmo5, a SIP-based calling service started by technology provocateur Michael Robertson. It’s rumored that the company might be taken out by Skype for about $50 million. The rationale behind buying Gizmo5 would be pretty simple. Read More about Skype’s Plan B to Stay in Business: Buy Gizmo5

Google Voice Expands

google-voice-logoWith all the hoopla about Google Wave, another set of invitations coming out of Google (s goog) seems to have been overlooked. After months of waiting, certain Twitterers are reporting that they’ve finally received invites to Google Voice, which I wrote about back in June. I’ve had GV myself since it was GrandCentral, but I got another invitation last night. The folks selling Voice invites on eBay may lose their customers soon! If you haven’t received an invite yet, you can request one here.

The concept behind Google Voice is simple: You’re given one phone number that can be configured to ring in multiple places — office, home, on your cell phone or even on an account on the VoIP service Gizmo5. We’ve looked at a number of virtual phone systems, including 3jam and Grasshopper, and while they have many nice features, it’s hard to beat Google Voice’s price — free except for international calls.

Have you received your Google Voice invitation?

Google Voice to Offer Phone and Messaging Services

google-voice-logoGoogle Voice wants to be your phone manager, SMS and voicemail provider. The service is rumored to be almost ready for public access.

Google Voice germinated after Google (s goog) acquired GrandCentral almost two years ago. The service was relaunched earlier this year as a private beta for GrandCentral users. I’ve been using it for a while, and am generally impressed. Google Voice offers a number of features that should make it popular with web workers. Read More about Google Voice to Offer Phone and Messaging Services

Skype for iPhone to Be Released as Early as Next Week

Exclusive Heads up: A few months ago, I asked Skype CEO Josh Silverman when was he going to launch the iPhone version of the P2P voice and IM service that has now been downloaded more than 405 million times. He smiled and said, “Stay tuned.” And so we did. [digg=http://digg.com/apple/Skype_for_iPhone_to_Be_Released_as_Early_as_Next]
A tipster — a very reliable one — tells me that Skype is almost ready to launch that iPhone (s aapl) version, perhaps as soon as next week. CTIA Wireless, a large mobile industry trade event, kicks off in Las Vegas next Wednesday, so perhaps the announcement will be made there. I am working on getting more details, as well as screenshots of the service.  Read More about Skype for iPhone to Be Released as Early as Next Week

Gizmo5 Launches OpenSky, Free Service to Call Skype From Any VoIP Phone

Gizmo5, the company behind the formerly known as SIPphone, is launching a new gateway that allows people using any VoIP service to call Skype users and vice versa. This free Skype gateway is called OpenSky. It is typical of Michael Robertson, the man behind Gizmo, to come up with a disruptive solution that removes the barriers between VoIP services and Skype. In an email, Robertson explains: Read More about Gizmo5 Launches OpenSky, Free Service to Call Skype From Any VoIP Phone

Gizmo5 Offering Free Conference Calls

Gizmo5, a service of VoIP service provider, SIPphone is offering free conference calling to its customers. I have been a big Gizmo user for a long time, but my usage has gone down mostly because their voice quality isn’t up to par. In fact, for all my VoIP calling, I had almost exclusively switched to using Skype. Over the weekend, however, I was reintroduced to the service when Gizmo5 emailed a free conference call offer. I wanted to talk to a few buddies and normally, I would call them on my cellular phone and then join the calls to create a conference call. However, I decided to try out the new offer.

I went to their website and got a conference room number. Those who wanted to join call in 1-605-475-8515 and punch the room number and join the conversation. It worked surprisingly smoothly and phone conversation with a couple of my buddies went without a hitch. Each conference room can handle between 2-to-10 people. Gizmo5 subscribers can call into the conference room and that doesn’t count a dime.

The whole thing went without a hitch, though given Gizmo5’s quality-record, I am going to try it out a couple of times before making a final decision. However, I can see the potential. I can use this service to interview folks and tape the conversation for easy archiving. If you are looking for an easy conference call option, you should try it out.

Potent Portables: Comcast Going Beyond Boxes?

Comcast has filed for trademark protection for two devices as the company looks to extend its reach beyond the set-top box and stave off the rising competition. Multichannel News reports:

Last fall Comcast registered for trademark protection for AnyReach, a portable TV and video player, and XtraScreen, which appears to provide a way to sling television content to computers over a wireless connection.

If it pans out, Comcast is certainly leaving no stone unturned as it looks to fend off the likes of Apple, TiVo and HP. The cable company is rolling out its AnyRoom mutli-room DVR service, has the AnyPlay portable DVR (it’s really milking that “Any” brand name), and is part of the tru2way open platform to deliver interactive television services. Oh, and if those don’t work, Comcast will just throttle your bandwidth. Check and mate, Apple TV.

The only saving grace? Knowing Comcast, if it does introduce these new devices — they’ll probably suck.