Twilio has really upped the ante with the release of its new iOS SDK for developing voice over IP applications. This means that any iOS App can quite easily add telephony via the Twilio API to its product. By providing an SDK for iOS, Twilio (a ProgrammableWeb sponsor) has lowered the bar for developers wanting to build VOIP applications. It only makes sense for a company that is a pure-play in the API business to do everything possible to encourage adoption among developers, and this release is another is a series of smart moves by Twilo. I expect that this will have a big impact developer adoption and would love to check back in with Twilio to hear how the project goes over the next couple months.
Twilio has long had a REST API to support voice calling using existing telephony infrastructure, formally referred to as the Public Switch Telephone Network or PTSN. The release of Twilio Client liberated Twilio applications from the requirement of using real physical phones. The Twilio Client enabled, for the first time in the Twilio system, for users to create VOIP phones in the browser. Now Twilio is delivering this same level of functionality to iOS through the new SDK.
I passed a few questions over to Thomas Schiavone, Director of Product Management at Twilio to get a more detailed picture of this project. He answered every one of them and I’ve posted them below. My questions are in bold with his responses immediately following.
What other mobile platforms will you target, if any?
“We already have an Android version in private beta that we’ll be releasing sometime later this year. In regards to other platforms, we find Windows Phone very interesting and it is something we are watching closely. Twilio goes where developers go, and they will ultimately make the decision of platform expansion for us.”
Will you have a full time mobile team to support the SDK?
“We already have a dedicated mobile team that handles all mobile development at Twilio, built for mobile developers by mobile developers. This is just the beginning and it is something we will invest more in.”
What about integration with the Appcelerator or TheAppBuilder services that specialize in native code so that app developers don’t have to?
“It is definitely interesting, and we are already working closely with partners such as those. Anyone that wants to use us can, there is nothing stopping them. Expect to hear more in the coming months.”
How long has this been in the works?
“Twilio Client has been in development for over a year now, but the mobile SDKs have been in development for about 6 months.”
How large is the library on disk?
“Our library is under 2MB in downloadable applications.”
Are there battery usage metrics or concerns?
“For active call usage since it is using relatively low data it should be no more than any other calling service. Should you choose to run it in the background, like any other background app, there will be additional battery usage. We are using the standard background API for iOS, as is normal.”