Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Say NO to 20 cent charge by Sprint for call forwarding

Continuing from our success in the UK to have T-Mobile call forwarding premium charges droped for our users, we have launched a petition on behalf of our USA users on Sprint to do the same.

HulloMail and other 3rd party voicemail providers use conditional call forwarding to divert incoming messages away from the carrier's voice mail system. All major carriers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile except for Sprint provide this feature for free and allow you to set it up yourself via your phone.

Sprint customers are required to call customer service to activate this type of forwarding, and then it costs you 20 cents per minute.

HulloMail strongly believes there should be an open market for 3rd party voicemail providers and we would like to champion this cause and welcome all industry players and consumers to join us .

Please sign our Petition.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Google Contacts for everyone and HulloMail web portal for US subscribers

Today sees the release of both Google Contacts integration for all HulloMail subscribers and the HulloMail web portal for US subscribers.

Google Contacts

Up until now only HulloMail users that had a GMail/GoogleMail account with 'HulloMail Sync' enabled were able to benefit from having contact information from Google Contacts associated with their HulloMail messages.

Now we have added further integration with Google that allows any HulloMail user, no matter what type of email account they have configured to store their HulloMail messages in, to enable Google Contacts support and enjoy the same experience.

This feature is simply enabled through the 'Contacts' settings screen in the Android mobile app. There the user is redirected to Google for authentication and then authorisation of HulloMail to access their contacts. Enabling this feature will soon also be possible through the HulloMail web portal.

HulloMail web portal

Like their UK counterparts, existing US subscribers can now access and manage both their HulloMail messages and account settings through the HulloMail user web portal while away from their phone.

The HulloMail team.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

"Green me up, Scotty"

Voicemail isn't just good for shaming freaky guys. Voicemail can save the planet too.

The original Captain Kirk, William Shatner, is helping Greenpeace with their campaign to stop Hewlett-Packard using toxic chemicals in their computer products.

Hear his voicemail to HP below or read more about his campaign on The Guardian site.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The greatest voicemail ever?

I heard about this meme years ago but never got round to experiencing its full horror until yesterday. Don't spare a thought for Dimitri "The Stud".

Saving voicemail's a great way of shaming the scary people out there. I don't know whether to laugh or cry, but I'm definitely cringing.

Visit for more on the man.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Avoid roaming charges

Hear your voicemails for free when you're overseas. HulloMail user, Jon Bradford, tells you how.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

T-Mobile support visual voicemail

T-Mobile USA are launching their own visual voicemail service to coincide with the arrival of the MyTouch3G handset. Their app allows users to listen to messages in any order and save them to the handset. It will be available by the end of the month.

Like us, the operator believes that visual voicemail is a reason to buy an Android handset. However, the T-Mobile app fails to embrace all the technological possibilities. Unlike the our app, there’s no contact sync and no email functionality. The T-Mobile app's just a small step in revolutionising voicemail in contrast to HulloMail's great leap.

The operator joins tech giants like Apple and Google in developing visual voicemail systems. Voice-prompt systems are gradually becoming a thing of the past and we believe HulloMail's the best solution for the new telecommunications landscape.Today, people expect voicemail to be as flexible as any other form of digital communication and that is precisely the experience that our Android app's delivering. Go to market, search for HulloMail and download.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

"My voicemail's mine to keep!"

Meet Travis, from Cincinnati, OH - our first US subscriber. We asked him a few questions about Android and HulloMail.

Why are you an Android user?
I love that it’s an open source project. It attracts a giving community.

Android's powered by Google. Most of my apps are neatly integrated and safely backed up by them.

What are the best apps?
Locale, Shazam, TuneWiki, Twidroid and, of course, HulloMail.

Why did you switch to HulloMail?
My previous voicemail solution, PhoneFusion, relied on SMS for voicemail alerts. I have a limited SMS plan. It sucked that I had to waste a SMS every time I got a voicemail. I am glad to see there are lots of other advantages to HulloMail too.

What are your favourite?
Voicemail goes immediately to my email inbox - it's awesome! With my previous solution, there was like a 50mb limit and the messages lived on their server. With HulloMail my voicemail's mine to keep!

I also like the flexibility of HulloMail. I don't have to use the app to access my messages because I can check my email for them.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Almost rumbled by a star by the stars and stripes

Thanks to TRavis, Lisa, Matt and Colin in the USA.

Our sign up process in our Android client automatically sets call forwarding to HulloMail. We tested our sign up process. Man we paid some good cash to do it on Device Anywhere. It worked.

We then asked some good friends in the USA to test they all had probs with the call forwarding. Hmmm, it works in the UK and T-Mobile USA is a GSM Network and Device Anywhere in the USA is telling us it works.

Let face it this has to be ironic? The USSD on GSM we use in the UK is **004*xxxx. Not in the USA. On T-Mobile USA is *004*xxxx.

4th of July. Boston Tea Party - did someone try to rumble us ;)

Phew... Thanks guys for all your help....

HulloMail Go Live in the USA -> video of what's available!

We are hours away from our debut in the USA which we are making available for the G1 Android handset on T-Mobile.

This video demonstrates HulloMail in its full glory working as one with GMail and GMail contacts - available in the USA from the 4th of July.

I would like to thank Travis, Matt and Colin for their help in getting us worried - you gave us a scare with that JF 1.5 ;)

Happy 4th of July!!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

T-Mobile reduce divert charges

T-Mobile have listened to HulloMail's users and reduced their UK divert charges.

T-Mobile was the only major UK network not to include diverts to geographic numbers in their inclusive minutes.

The operator’s customers were charged five pence per minute more to use HulloMail than they were to use T-Mobile’s traditional voice prompt system. Thanks to our customers' lobbying, T-Mobile reduced their price - HulloMail's service can now be included in bundled 'free' minutes.

Existing T-Mobile subscribers to our service without an 03 divert number should have already received an email with a new number - the rest of you don't need to do a thing.

Vote for us

One of our favourite blogs, Tech Crunch, are holding their first Europe-wide awards ceremony for technology innovation - The Europas. They've nominated us in the Best Mobile Startup category alongside services like Nimbuzz and Orbster. If you love HulloMail as much as we do vote for us here.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Monday, 8 June 2009

New HulloMail Android app drops tomorrow

The brand new version of our Android app goes live tomorrow. In addition to a slick new user interface, registration can now be done within the app making signing up to HulloMail even easier. Visit the Android Market to get your hands on it.

Friday, 8 May 2009

OMTP Proposes Visual Voice Mail Standards - and re-invent email?!

The OMTP recently issued a recommendation document which defines an open and standardised interface between Visual Voice Mail (VVM) clients and voice mail servers. Those who have reported it suggest that a key recommendation within the document is for the industry to implement a VVM protocol based on IMAP4.

So the OMTP is proposing that a visual voicemail client shoud be a souped up email client that connects to the voicemail server using IMAP4, making the voicemail server essentially an email server.

Its good to finish the week knowing all our hard work to date fits this proposed open standard - HulloMail is an email based solution. However the recommendation by the OMTP is a customisation of IMAP4 and by virtue suggest a parallel universe to the already prevelant spec used by email clients and servers.

I suggest the key recommendation is their proposed standard for the definition of message types such as voicemail (voice-email) or videomail (video-email). In my ideal world we would have one client that would optimise the inteface/experience according to the message type rather than have multiple clients for different message types. Just with this approach existing email clients could be extended to produce the desired effect.

What puzzles me is why the OMTP would suggest customising IMAP4 instead of say a simpler XML based protocol via a middle layer which in turn connects to the voicemail server via standard IMAP4? The OMTP approach does not help operators that may desire to have network based business logic associated to their VVM solution, e.g. to implement charging mechanisms. Going direct to the message store can also squew the performance on the voicemail servers that are already under heavy call completion loads.

Could it be advisors to the OMTP have already developed these VVM clients and are trying to sell this approach to the operators and handset manufacturers by claiming they are the first to follow the new proposed open spec?

if you want to read more:

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

We love the new Vodafone HTC Magic

Today I took delivery of the new Android mobile phone, the HTC Magic, available from Vodafone in the UK. The phone comes with the latest Android OS - 1.5.

It's a very nice phone! Great design, thin and light - it feels and looks high-end. Although I'm a diehard iPhone user, I'm also a diehard Android fan. The combination of the HTC Magic and Android is a tempting package that could lure me away from my iPhone. It would probably succeed if the email client was on a par with the iPhone's.

PS - The phone does not like "+" in a USSD code. If you are setting diverts using USSD and using international number format (which is how you should do it) then replace the + with 00 in the UK.

Friday, 24 April 2009

My iPhone doesn't ring - keeps going to voicemail!?

Called O2 customer support.
I asked "My callers keep being diverted to voicemail. My phone does not ring even with all bars? I've even called it at my desk and can repeat the problem. I don't even see the missed call come up - what is going on?"
O2 " Yes sir we are aware of the problem. Do you use YouTube or browse the web much? do you use email push? do you use email polling?"
" Well yes but not all the time- what does that have to do with it, that's data and my calls are over normal voice circuit swtich - no?"
O2 " Well actually no sir - the iPhone can't handle a voice call and a GPRS connection at the same time"
o2 "Yes Apple and O2 are aware of it and we are working on it. Actually you really need a good voicemail service so you dont miss any calls"
"You are kidding right?!??!??! What about 3G?"
o2 "That's a third party. We recomend you set up voicemail"
"Your voicemail does not support missed calls when my callers dont even leave a voicemail - so how do I know when I've missed a call in this scenario?"
o2 "ehm.. i'll make a note of that!"

This has to be a herring rouge?

I don't want to use this to plug HulloMail - but seriously if you have an iPhone on o2 and you dont want to miss a call well you know where we are!"

Monday, 20 April 2009

BlackBerry Anthem

The only thing I love as much as mobile phones is “UK Funky” and the amazing dance routines that go with the songs. I really happy to see my worlds collide with the BlackBerry Anthem.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Don't be evil

The whole internet appears to be ridiculing the Milton Keynes residents who blocked the driver of a Google Street View car when he started taking photographs of their homes.

American commentators found it ironic that we are were concerned about Google invading our privacy when we fall under the gaze of CCTV more frequently than any other nation.

Some people have more faith in Google than they have in elected and accountable government, which is odd considering Google’s track record. Let’s not even talk about their complicity in suppression of free expression in China or their cookie policy. To many people the internet is Google: Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Blogger, Reader, Docs and now Maps. Maybe Google’s too powerful and needs to be broken up – who’s watching Google?

Thursday, 2 April 2009

In depth reporting of the G20 summit by the BBC....

The BBC's reporting of the G20 summit is a must read to understand the economic crisis.

The BBC wants to know - Is Gordon Brown the biggest winner of the G20 summit? He must be because he still has a job after it all went wrong - on his watch.

The BBC wants you to know that the G20 family photo had to be taken twice and moreover the BBC has a G20 spouses quiz! I am speechless.

Surely the material available as a result of the economic mess we are in is a reporting goldmine...One only has to scan some of the facts:

According to the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) the 2008 Monitored Derivatives is valued at $680Trillion. Compare this to the 2008 World Capital base of $53.5Trillion, our planet is 12 times over its head.

Note, if you're lucky, your mortgage lender will lend you three times your salary. Get this, the BIS figure above is an estimate. No one truly knows the planets exposure and we now have evidence no one wants to address the underlying issue. Surely if you are over your head you need to know exactly by how much before you spend any more money on the problem? For all we know we could be dousing the fire. There has to be a story in here somewhere?

My view is the summit is a clear example that we don't have the right people running or reporting the planet nowadays....

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Skype for iPhone – if it aint ontop it aint on, so whats the point?

I have been personally skeptical about VoIP on the mobile. Reasons being that I have a tonne of bundled minutes in my package and all the VoIP clients I've used are either clunky+geeky and/or a change in behaviour is required to use effectively. So, I just cant see the point of making a call via VoIP unless it's international, but then if its international, I’d rather use my laptop. Unless of course the mobile phone is designed to be a VoIP phone then usability is addressed and away we go.

With Skype for iPhone I will probably end up eating part of my hat. I use skype all the time on my laptop and desktop. I use it both personally and for business. Skype has become part of my family lingo, we use it to video call each other and even my mum who recently retired says, as if its a term she has used all her life, "I'll skype you tomorrow!".

So I donloaded Skype first thing this morning. But my deep down geek reared its head, am I sill online when its not the top app? It's not and this is a big imitation of the app. If its not running as the top app then you are effectively offline. So what's the point of it? Well my view is its great to make cheap international calls and the occassional skype chat, but its not seamless and requires proactive effort to take incoming calls and IM's.

Despite this slight flaw, Skype is one of those apps that has trancended geekyness and has for many of us a unique emotional ranking (I can't shake the geek), and this is where I believe it has the edge.

So, I'll be honest, although it has this limitation it only took me 2 secs to get up and running and whats more, its free from the iPhone app store, so what do you have to lose?

Overall on first impressions it is simple to use and it works - if you are a skype user you will immediately appreciate it. I can see myself using it to make international skype out calls which you can make to any of your iPhone contacts seamlessly.

No doubt I will leave it as the top app whilst on the sofa to take calls from my mum. I do look forward to video. And in the office it will be great to switch to mobile and walk away to take or make a call -- but note to do this requires a behavioural change and only because its Skype am I willing to do it.

IMHO for the app to be truly unbelieavably life changing it needs a setting to be always on. I understand the iPhone is optimized to save on battery life so something needs to be tweaked and I hope that using the SDK 3.0 this can be addressed using some background processing.

Does it work? Yes. I ran some basic tests, first to test out the call quality and secondly to see if the mobile app supports HulloMail. I asked a colleague to call me. Great audio. It really works well.

The sequence of events using HulloMail as Skype voicemail is:

1 – Call coming in to iPhone Skype App
2 – Call went through to HulloMail. Chris leaves me a message and HulloMail notifies me I have a new voicemail.
3 – using the iPhone Mail inbox I see the HulloMail voicemail from Chris
4 – Select the MP3 in the email
5 – MP3 audio plays
6 - From the iPhone Mail App, I can now reply to teh voicemial by email, text or call back in one easy step.....

Side note - instructions for setting up HulloMail for Skype.
You first need Skype Out. Then under Call Forwarding tab in your Skype settings enter your Personal HulloMail Number.

Your Personal HulloMail Number can be found in your registration email and under Service Info tab @

Friday, 27 March 2009

Google Voice - You can't use it for voice mail but if you do it seems they own it?

I saw this tweet last week - "@SandraSingerEsq I read that Google's TOS indicates that they own all info, including the voicemail they change into emails/SMS. Not sure"

I thought I would check it out....
Clicked on Terms of Service -> Error Page Not found

hmm I thought that strange - so I googled and brought up the cached page (great feature Google)

I had a quick look at their terms. Under Rules and Regulations:
Subscriber agrees to abide by all applicable local, state, national, foreign and international laws and regulations and is solely responsible for all acts or omissions that occur under Subscriber's account or password, including the content of Subscriber's transmissions through the Service. By way of example, and not as a limitation, Subscriber agrees not to:

* Use the Service in connection with chain letters, junk email, voice mail, faxes, spamming or any duplicative or unsolicited messages...

UPDATE: do they own it? Answer is no! under help/legal notices....

New Tweet says...
@tazmaniax RT @BryanGriffith: Google specifically disclaims ownership of message content. #GoogleVoice

Your Intellectual Property Rights

Google does not claim any ownership in any of the content that you or your callers upload, transmit or store in your Google Voice account. We will not use any of your content for any purpose except to provide you with the Service.

Voicemail that's yours to keep! too...

Thursday, 26 March 2009

New iPhone coming in June?

It’s only been ten days since Apple previewed the new iPhone 3.0 operating system, but today they announced their Worldwide Developers Conference will kick off on 8 June in San Francisco. I hope Apple announce a new phone to go with their spangly new OS.

Apple might just be as passionate about voicemail as us. Their new firmware includes a voice memo app that allows iPhone users to send their voice messages over email - a feature that HulloMail has be able to do since day one. Apple’s news combined with Google Voice means March has been a big month for voicemail - voicemail’s fashionable again.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

HulloMail in Smartphone & PDA Essentials Magazine

After initially having to be dragged kicking and screaming on to Twitter, I've fully submitted and I can't tear myself away. I get itchy for Twitter news when I'm unable to check it and envy users in the US where it works slightly differently - the updates get sent to their phones via SMS and they text back their replies. How great is that?

I'm all for converging technologies - my phone is also my camera, my laptop doubles up as my music player, and I can check my email from my games console. In the same way, HulloMail puts my mobile voicemail messages into my email inbox where I can download them to my hard drive or forward them to my friends.

For more on the brilliance of HulloMail check out the latest issue of Smartphone & PDA Essentials. It includes an interview with our CEO, Andy Murrariz. The article also looks in detail at the drawbacks of the old archaic operator voicemail systems and explores the ways in which HulloMail can unlock voicemail's potential.

Run down to your newsagent and take a peek.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Google Voice. Now how bad is this for British mobile businesses?

Answer – it’s not, cos it irrelevant to us, DUH

I should know, cos I run HulloMail and here’s how it looks to me…

Wisdom of crowds? I think not.

So, how many monkeys does it take to get a 20/20 view on Google’s Voice Service?

Here in the UK it looks like crowdsourcing aint the answer if even a blog scrum on Techmeme can’t see the wood for the trees.

Problem is you can’t map a US solution to a Non-US context and expect it to work.

Why not?

Why not? Cos it’s a solution to their problems and not ours – it’s a superb example of what I call ‘the fallacy of misplaced solutions’.

What does this mean? Quite literally – it’s a solution ok, but a solution that’s misplaced – ie ‘out of place’ here in the UK

What I mean is, if you’re stateside then you PAY TO RECEIVE CALLS . So let’s take their universal number for all your life and after concept – OK – so from now on your mum calls this number which then calls you – right so how does that get billed then?

Over here mobile has developed with different infrastructure, business models, usage patterns and its our main comms line with the world. So the universalist approach that works for Google in search (ie everyone everywhere searches for stuff and you can advertise to them and build a universal solution on the back of that) won’t work for mobile.

Global is the new local

“A number for life”
– It’s been a number of years since UK phone users have enjoyed the freedom of moving between networks whilst keeping their number. People can already opt for a mobile number for life, without having to change it now.

“All change?” – Some say Google Voice is an attack on Skype; I have all my mates’ contacts already in Skype, and Skype is damn good - we use between mates and customers. Why would anyone now move across to Google and give up your skype ID?

“One number for all devices” –. I have a lot of American friends, and some do like the utility belt with multiple devices. So with Google Voice they can now take some time to set up rules for which device is called when, and for how long, until it eventually hunts you down. My big question is though - how many users in the UK have multiple devices for calling, texting and email anyway? For those of us in the UK that do have multiple mobile phones, there is a reason for it – we want you to have one number or the other! Do we really want all of those calls coming into one place?

“Free calls?” – I’ve already touched on this but by using Google’s new “number for life and after life”, all calls to your mobile will be indirect and made by Google. This works stateside because it’s the recipient that pays for their incoming calls, but in the UK as well as the rest of the civilized world, it is the calling party that pays the charge! So will your wife / girlfriend / kids that have free minutes to your mobile now lose these? How will Google accommodate free inclusive minutes different numbers with their current pricing regime? Who will pay for the call forwarding charge between your universal number and your mobile.!???

“Your email” – Many would say I’m obsessed with turning voicemail into email, so I’m absolutely flummoxed that Google have not fully integrated voicemails into GMAIL, and instead use another inbox! Man are they now so big its takes them two years to do something simple – how are they going to keep up with the fast-paced internet world? If you’re with Hotmail or Yahoo!, you’re out of luck, or is it time to change your email address too?

Fear and loathing?

So is this just so predictable, the old ‘he would say this anyway wouldn't he’ syndrome?

Aren’t I just another grandiose CEO of pinprick start-up that quivers after the Deathstar drops its payload?

Like – hello, no way dude! I've got the R&D team flat out right now working on a search engine.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

HulloMail & Google Contacts Integration

I am pleased to announce a rather significant release of HulloMail.

Google Contacts Integration
After much anticipation HulloMail Sync with GMail now supports Google Contacts. When HulloMail receives a message for you it will look up the number in your Google Contacts and get his/her mug shot, name and email address for you! The 'from' address will be their email address - turning a Voicemail into a fully blown email from the sender that you can reply to! How cool is that! We will also be adding some new interesting contacts related functions in the near future.

WEB view of HulloMail messages

Especially useful if you do not use HulloMail Sync or prefer to have a focused view of your voicemails, you can now download and visually manage your voicemails through the HulloMail subscriber portal - login to and go to the Messages tab.

G1 Android client
You can now delete voicemails from within the client via a new extra operations screen.

An interesting side note, for GoogleMail accounts this is not as straight forward as you might imagine. Voicemails are deposited into two labels, 'Inbox' and 'HulloMail', so there's a bit more to do. Delete isn't what it used to be!

Video showing how these new features work in & Android:

Video showing how these features work on our Android client

The Dungworth Feature
Several (and one in particular - Mr Dungworth) power users, pointed out that the service was not marking voicemails as read until they had been completely listened to. We've changed this so a message is marked as read once the message content begins playing. This feature is completely configurable and we will be exposing such things in self care at a later date.

'Please enter your user ID...'
We apologise if you've been confused by this when calling into the service. The prompt has now been changed to "Please enter your telephone number...".


Speeding up when calling to listen to messages
If you are a "HulloMail Sync" user you can speed up the response time of HulloMail when it connects to your email account by archiving older voicemails in your HulloMail folder to another folder or your desktop. This can be done through your email client of choice.

We are working on an auto-manage feature to do this automatically in the future.

Updating Google Contacts via iTunes for iPhone users
If you regularly synchronise your iPhone with your PC via iTunes then check the Sync Google Contacts box under Info/Contacts Tab to synchronise your desktop (Mac & PC) contacts with Google. See

Missed call alert
If you are out of coverage or your mobile is switched off, HulloMail can also let you know about callers that did not leave you a voicemail. Don't miss any call! To set this up notification login to and under the notification tab and set-up missed call alerts.

SMS notification
Sending SMS notifications is the most expensive part of delivering the HulloMail service. Disabling SMS notification where ever possible will help us keep the service free. The G1 client has in-built notification so SMS is not necessary. Please use email notification instead - its more cost effective for us ;)

Keeping up to date:
For those of you who have stepped into the Twitter world we have created @HulloMail for general tweets about all things HulloMail. We have been a little bit slack post Christmas but we are endeavoring to be more active.

Finally, a big thanks for your continued support and feedback! keep sending it in.