According to the just-live MagicJack website, the main “magic” appears to be an oversized-looking thumb-drive thingy with a USB connector on one end, and an analog phone jack on the other. Greenberg’s column says the total price for a device and a yearly subscription for all-you-can-eat dialing in the U.S. and Canada should be between $50 and $60 $29 and $39 the first year, $19.99 a year thereafter; so far, no other details have surfaced on how the pricing, connection and billing actually work, and whether it won’t be another free-calling fiasco.I directly checked the MagicJack's website for more details and was disappointed. What is so great about that MagicJack? I don’t see a breaktrough. It lets people make phone calls only while their computer is switched on. When it’s off they cannot even receive calls. The MagicJack is basically a softphone on a USB stick, bundled with a $60 dollar a year VoIP contract. - That seems quite expensive and uncomfortable to me.
E. g. with the VoIP provider Voipstunt I have unlimited calls to USA, Canada, Germany, UK and other 30 countries - for about 36 dollars a year (= 10 Euros for 120 days). I have Voipstunt installed on my analog telephony adapter (Fritz!Box), which connects my normal phone to my DSL connection. This means that I can make those VoIP calls and receive calls when my computer is switched off. It’s works like normal PSTN telephony, but is much cheaper.
I am really not impressed by this MagicJack. It seems as uncomfortable as Skype to me, which annoys me much because it works only when my computer is switched on. Maybe they want to address clients which don’t understand VoIP. But to me it seems too uncomfortable and its contract too expensive. Looking for solutions from abroad the USA they would have found much better and cheaper solutions, for instance the one I use: Fritz!Box + Voipstunt from Germany. A reader called Andrew Jed answered:
Didn’t anyone listen or read?!And so what? That’s what I do already with my configuration. I have a DECT phone connected to my Fritz!Box that let’s me wirelessly do free phone calls without the need to switch my computer in.
The initial cost will be $30 - $40 for the magicJack device…with FREE unlimited local and long distance calls - through your analog phone (or headset on PC if your prefer). No subscription or fees the first year whatsoever. Each add’l year is planned at around $20.00.
And? What is so great about that? For about $40 I get one year of unlimited local and long distance calls as well, as I explained before. And I don’t even have to switch on my computer to make them. So the MagicJack would worsen my situation if I would change my at home configuration for it.
PLUS you can have your entire home wirelessly making FREE calls.
There is so much more. Making rash and unfounded comments prior to knowing the facts seems very, well, wrong - to say the least. Markus Göbel states in his web site he is a journalist?Well, thanks for Andrew's appreciation of journalism as a profession. But maybe he doesn’t know: Even journalists can make mistakes. Moreover in this very case none of his arguments convinces me and I still think that I am right with every word I wrote in my comment.
Also I wrote an answer to a comment from Dan Borislow, the inventor of the MagicJack:
What makes the magicJack so different?Well I have already read about many similar USB stick devices that plug into a computer and then people can start talking via VoIP, without the need to install a software: Vonage V-Phone, MPlat FlashPhone or Sandisk’s Skype on a USB stick. OK, with the MagicJack you don’t need a headset but you can use your normal phone for the call. But is this really a breaktrough? When my computer is runnig and I am talking to a friend I just speak directly into my computer, which has a great microphone and sound with echo cancelation. For what would I need to pick up the phone that is connected to the MagicJack?
1.Ease of use.There is no other device in the world,where you plug into a USB,up and running in a minute with plug and play and you plug in a telephone.This is one of a kind.
Borislow answered with some ironic comments:
When you went to go to in your backyard and swig down some Becks,do you bring your laptop outside with all those songbirds and talk to your favorite girl?That’s exactly what I don’t like to do: Grab my laptop just to make a phone call. There is a device that’s called “telephone”. You don’t have to boot it. You can take it to the backyard and make phone calls. Only that it is easier to use as a laptop, weighs less and is just as mobile because I use a wireless phone. This phone is connected to my WLAN-Router/VoIP device (Fritz!Box) so that I have calls to 30 countries for free. I find this much more comfortable as the MagicJack.
What happened when you were finally making time with your girl, and Voip!Stunts only server caught on fire and she might have hooked up with somebody else by the time they restored their service? (we have 31 we use)That was a better point from Borislow! I agree that Voipstunt can possibliy dissapear from one day to another. They are obviously underpricing. But the recent outage because of the fire was the first I experienced in two years and lasted only 4 hours. Too short to even sell this news to the media! Voipstunt is a very “no frills” service. They are just cheap and I don’t know if they give any kind of support. But for me they failed only 4 hours in two years.
Were you surprised when you started getting billed 13 cents a call,when the Voip!Stunt promo was over after 120 days?That’s never happening. When the 120 days are over the countries I call cost about 1 Cent. I just don’t miss the 120 days. When there is no money anymore on my Voipstunt account the phone does not work anymore. In this case I have 9 other VoIP providers installed in my Fritz!Box (as fallback options and also because I a am a geek who tries out all the VoIP services). But normally I do a quick Paypal to Voipstunt and a minute later I can go on making phone calls.
Lastly, Fritz!Box told me that it is impossible to use Voip!stunt softphone on it. How did you do it.Well I don’t know to whom Borislow talked and what is his technical background. But I suppose he knows how easy it is to configure a VoIP device like the Fritz!Box. You just have to type Voipstunt’s login name, password, registrar, proxy-Server and STUN server into Fritz!Box’ built in website and yet you can do the first phone call. This takes about 1 minute. It’s not “impossible” to use Voipstunt on a Fritz!Box. I do it every day. As well I use Sipgate, GMX, Tpad, Ekiga, Gizmo Project, FWD and others on the same device. As I said I try to check all of the interesting VoIP services.
I like the VoIP industry very much and see it with the eyes of a client. To me and to my buddies the most appealing point is to save money. VoIP should work like a PSTN telephony but cheaper. Just pick up the phone and make a call.
So the MagicJack misses the point. It shouldn't be connected to the USB port of a running computer, but directly to the DSL modem or the router. It could easily get it's energy from the router's Ethernet port. The entire phone software should be embedded in the device and not rely on the Windows XP of a computer. In this case people could make VoIP calls that feel like real telephony. They could connect their old phones directly to the internet.
But in this case the MagicJack would be some kind of Fritz!Box.