Thursday, December 18, 2003

Vonage Goes Portable

Woohoo!!!  I guess they really to listen to the suggestions of the customer!!



Om Malik breaks the news that Vonage will soon have laptop and PDA-based software client for its service: It's not news that Vonage has tens of thousands of subscribers, nor that they offer a high-quality, full-featured hardware-based broadband voice-over-IP service that allows you to map multiple incoming real phone numbers to your virtual line. It also not news that you can get high-quality software VoIP clients; I'm personally enamored of Xten's suite, which work with Windows, Mac OS X, LindowsOS, and Linux. They're beautiful and come in free and paid flavors, including a multi-line conference version. The Xten clients can interface with any standard SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) server, and many of the VoIP providers who offer long-distance over the Internet use standard SIP gateways. But getting from Xten outbound to the VoIP provider is a pain: I had to have the CEO of Xten provide me the details for a couple of VoIP services; those details aren't on the VoIP long-distance service sites. Then there's the question of inbound service. Even though you can use Xten as the default client with, it's unclear whether you can receive inbound calls via their service. Most of the VoIP in software is focused on making calls to the PSTN and receiving calls from other folks using services like Free World Dial-up, which provides you with a free non-PSTN VoIP number and SIP gateway. Om's scoop is certainly that Vonage is going to package the software and PSTN offering into a no-configuration package that will be as easy to use as their hardware service. Vonage's hardware solution is pretty simple: open the box, plug it in, wait a minute. You're done. Voice mail calls can be alerted via email, and other features can be enabled through the Web site's dashboard for your account. Because Vonage works over broadband, a Pocket PC or a laptop equipped with their soft client in turn connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot or access point means free phone service everywhere -- it's another incentive to lower cell phone plans (for roaming purposes) and increase the number of hot spot locations. [Update @ 3.45 pm: Andy Abramson of KenRadio wrote in to note that this is a public beta for existing Vonage users as of Dec. 8, which they reported on, and that there's no Pocket PC beta nor one that's in the works, as far as he's aware.]...
[Wi-Fi Networking News]

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