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App Spotlight: Speek brings hassle-free conference calls to iOS

This fast and easy conferencing service goes mobile, offering iPhone users quick tools for setting up and joining calls.

The days of rushing back to your desk just so you can set up or join a conference call are over.

Back in October, I told you about Speek, a hassle-free conferencing service that was browser-based. Today, the company unveiled Speek for iOS, an app version of the service that leaves the browser--and your PC--out of it.

For those unfamiliar with it, Speek works thusly: You sign up for an account, choosing a custom username that'll double as your unique URL. For example: Speek.com/pcworld, or Speek.com/CES2013.

You can perform this account setup right inside the app; it's literally a two-step process. And you can use your existing Facebook or Google+ account as credentials if you prefer.

To set up an immediate call, you invite contacts via text or e-mail. The app also lets you create an "event" (i.e. a call set in the future).

When it's time for the call, participants click the link or respond to the SMS invite. From there, Speek dials their number, and presto, the person who answers is immediately on the call. At your end, you merely tap Start A Call, wait for your iPhone to ring, then return to the app.

Once the call is live, you can see visually who's connected and even who's talking. You can also add callers on the fly and share images right from your photo library, a nice touch.

When the call is over, Speek immediately emails you a call history that details who was on the call, how long it lasted, and any materials shared.

If I have a complaint, it's that those you invite via text have to manually enter (or at least copy and paste) the Speek phone number and your room name (like the aforementioned "pcworld"--but at least that's easier than some lengthy numeric code).

Mostly, however, Speek joins CrowdCall in offering an easy way to create and/or join conference calls from your smartphone. Which is better? Short answer: Speek is totally free (for now), while CrowdCall limits the number of free calls per day and the length of those calls.

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