MAGICJACK GOES ON SALE

Daniel Borislow's new company MagicJack releases new telecom gizmo that lets customers make "free long distance calls, forever". The gizmo costs $39.95, with subsequent "licensing fees" of $20 per year after the first year. More...

The former head of Tel-Save, which eventually morphed into Talk.Com, announced plans for his new, privately-owned company earlier this year, but until now the gadget has been confined to the category of "vaporware".

The company's website at http://www.magicjack.com began taking orders last week for the gadget, along with releasing a few, new details on how it works. According to the website:

  • The MagicJack device is only slightly larger than an average USB thumb drive, and can be used from any location in the world.
  • In order to make calls, you must have an analog headset to plug into your computer, an available USB 2.0 port, access to broadband service and be running unspecified versions of MicroSoft Windows while you are using the phone. It appears to be more of a software application than an ATA. No technical manuals are available online detailing why it is necessary to use Windows, specifically. The mandatory use of Windows is a bit troubling to us, as we know of at least one "free" VoIP softphone service that bundles their software with spyware/adware. Once installed, this software causes web page advertisements to pop-up in one's browser, and can not be easily uninstalled. We have no reason as of yet to believe that this is something that MagicJack is doing, but we will be test driving one of the devices to find out for sure.
  • All users are assigned an inbound DID, so that they can receive calls on their computers as well. Currently, DIDs are only available in about a dozen cities, and number portability is not available.
  • Units are apparently already shipping, with dozens of customers on their discussion forum reporting having used the devices.
  • The $19.95 annual licensing fee also includes E911 service, registered to your location via the Internet.
  • Free, unlimited long distance calls are available to both the U.S. and Canada. International cals may be available in the future, presumably as a subscription service.
  • Free voicemail is also included with the service. It must be accessed via an Internet connection though.
  • We ordered one of the units today, and will be publish a review and technical specs once we have received it.