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VoxOx is an application and service launched by TelCentris, that unifies all of a consumer’s communication channels — voice, video, IM, text, social media, e-mail, fax and content sharing — into a single interface, giving the user full control of their interconnected lifestyle. VoxOx enables users to manage all of their connections and contacts in one single application, and, at the same time, provides a sophisticated global phone service for free or at low cost options. This phone service is going to interest us most in this review.
The Application and Its Interface
VoxOx has a rich interface with a look that has some originality, although the main menu takes after the iPhone, with a matrix of colorful clickable icons in front of a pitch black background. The application is abundant in features, and the average user will take quite some time to get acquainted to it. You have in it, for each contact, the means to chat, video conference, call, voicemail, fax and what not. TelCentris, the parent company, has engineered and deployed its own proprietary unified communications service delivery platform in the VoxOx project. Speaking of functional operability, it has what applications like Skype, interoperable instant messaging software, GrandCentral, Vonage and mobile VoIP offer, all combined.
Installation is quite straightforward. You can register for an ID through the application’s interface. Note that upon registration, you are not yet given a phone number. Verification is done through email. To get a number and the free 2 hours worldwide calling, you have to enter your mobile phone number, to which you will receive an SMS containing a code. You then use that code to activate your account on the application’s interface. This done, you get three tabs on the window, one with your ID name, one with your VoxOx phone number, and another one whose presence is still not clear, I must admit. They all three lead to the same options.
On your first use of the application, you are prompted with a nice wizard that walks you through an initialization/configuration of all the services in six steps. This is where you set up your email, Yahoo, MSN, AO, ICQ etc. accounts, Facebook and Myspace accounts, phone numbers etc. once for all.
I availed of the 2 hours free time to make some voice calls here and there. I started with some local calls and then made some calls to some international destinations. I had some practical issues with the application at first, but then all the calls worked smoothly. One thing I found interesting is that the application allows you to select the destination country from a drop down box and as a result, the country code is already filled. This will save many users from the confusion of country and area codes.
The call quality varied depending on the destinations. I believe the local carrier networks must have had a bearing on that. Overall the voice quality is slightly less clear than that of a mobile phone. That would be something around 3.5 on the MOS scale.
You need to note here that you can make calls only through your PC or mobile device, and not through your phone set. So, get your headset ready.
All services are free except two: outgoing calls and text messages. These are the only things the company relies on for monetizing the project. Once you use up your 120 minutes of free talking time to any destination, you have several options to go on using the service. You can purchase batches of $10 credit or more, which you can use to make calls within the US and Canada at the rate of 1 cent per minute – quite competitive. You can make unlimited calls within the US, Canada and Europe for $20 per month. If you want to send unlimited text messages worldwide, that is $10 per month.
Now there is a way of replenishing your pay-as-you-go credit without paying anything. It is by referring other people to the service. For each buddy that signs up under your name, you get another 2 hours free credit (your buddy gets his/hers as well). Watching ads and taking surveys are another way of getting unpaid credit.
VoxOx is pioneering in what many people have been waiting for for years, and has shown the project to be ambitious and well orchestrated. If they improve the performance of the application and take care of the call quality, they are in for a leading role in the Unified Communications and VoIP market. Do try it and at worst, you will have got 2 hours of free calling worldwide. According to TelCentris, you can even deploy it in your business.