Online Conference Calls with Android

I have been trying to get Android Conference Calls Apps to work since I started to get more involved in volunteer meetings where have face to face meetings are not almost doable.  The number of people at the meetings keeps growing which is good but bad for online communication as there is always a limit to how many people can be added to a conference call.

In the past, when I was volunteering with a group locally, they said let’s try Skype and they did twice near the formation of the group.  Both times failed for them and since has said “we will now have weekly face to face meeting.”  These have actually worked out better but since they don’t have a regular meeting location, moving around has been needed.  The spaces that are found are more formal spaces which makes the meetings the same but every once in awhile the meeting space found can be fun. Finding a location each week is not that much of a challenge if your group is location in the downtown of any city but outside of the downtown is a nightmare as these are many limitations.

With another group that I volunteer with most recently, they are all about having Skype calls, and haven’t had a face to face meeting in a few weeks.  They also have outside of the city people join in which makes Skype a player in the meetings almost all the time.  The problem is that everyone is so busy which is hard to get the right people to be free at the right time.  Everyone wants this or that person at the meeting and if not, they will schedule around them.  Instead, I would say, “Whoever comes is the right people at the meeting and whatever times the meeting starts is the right time to start.”. Beyond this, with Skype, people started to be away from a computer at the cottage and the technology of Skype and Phone never worked out.  The group had to pay $14 to buy and upgrade to allow Skype to call phones and the sound between the devices improved but other limitations happens which were never figured out.

In my experience, Skype in general on any machine is a problem and the mic or video can be limiting depending on your computer.  I know that if you have the right mic with a group of people around, this can drive down the technology failures.

I still feel on Android, the conference call features are great but each app is very limiting. 

Skype: You can only be apart of an existing audio conference call not start them with more than one person.  This is super annoying as many people including myself, need to be able to bring others into the conference.  If people have setup Skype to start automatically, this can be hard to get them to start a Conference Call without massive amount of training.

Google Hangouts: The app allows for find people in a simple way and have them join conversations.  The problem is that unless you have a Google+ account and others have a Google Account, they can’t join the audio conference call exactly like Skype.  On the other hand, the amount of people switching to Google Hangout is massive as this allows for some free features that Skype doesn’t.  The biggest one is having a big video chat with 10 people which on Skype is limited to one on one without paying. I heard that is amazing to use but has no mobile app yet.  My tests on a PC with Firefox yield a failure as nothing worked out.  I would like one day to be able to test this out on a larger scale but for now need to wait.

Overall, I would say conference call apps on Android need massive improvements but never know when these new features will come out.  In general, most conference calls are still tied to an office and the business crowd not the everywhere person.  In the real world, the one on one video calling has changed the game and allowed people to see who they are talking to.  I would use this more if I had a partner who wasn’t with me everyday.  For myself, I hate using online conference calls for more than one person, and will wait until Android Apps come out with major improvements.

Do you use conference call software either within your browser or mobile apps?  If so, let us know your experience.

Posted in Android, Authors, Computers, shawnrisk, Tablet Only

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