Cheap Phone

February 19, 2008 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Economoney, Hardware, Internet, Online services, Technology | 2 Comments

Recently, I read a review of “magicJack”, a small USB device that allows you to plug your regular phone into your internet connection. It automatically loads the required software and on registration, gives you a phone number, voice mail, call forwarding, unlimited North America wide calling, and so forth for $20 a year. Initial cost, about $40, including the first year.
Critically, sound quality is evidently up to phone standards, unlike some home VoIP services. Evidently they have accomplished this by building phone infrastructure in each local area. And this isn’t just about long distance – it can replace your phone service, including enhanced 911. It also apparently has a “soft phone” so you can dial on screen. It can easily be taken with you on the road.

Wisely, they include a USB extension cord. Wise as it reduces wear on your USB jacks and gets the plug where you want it.

Now, PC Mag has given it an Editor Choice award.
It does require a PC and broadband internet connection. Mac version is in beta. International Long Distance is coming.
(roll the mouse over the video clips to get controls to stop all the babbling)

The web site is a little skint on details of the softphone but if it allows you to save numbers, Skype’s only advantage will be conferencing, something I do all the time with it. Certainly makes one wonder how the Telcos will adapt. At least they dropped the idea of billing for per minute local usage, like cell phones. I’ve not had a “local” phone for several years. That begins to make things like phone books meaningless too. The landscape is changing…


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  1. a friend of mine just got a magicJack. It came with a California # but evidently theres a choice. Much clearer than Skype, and cheaper. Includes voicemail. He tells me they have conferencing for extra $. He can call on his computer with speakers and mic or plug in a regular phone. I’m talking to him as I type. Unlike Skype he can put it in his pocket and take it anywhere…


  2. […] in February, I spoke of a review of magicJack, a small hardware device that allows you to use your phone over the Internet. For $20 a year, you […]


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