PhoneGnome 2.0 - very Voice 2.0

Tomorrow, PhoneGnome will officially launch version 2.0, and much like the whatever-you-want-it-to-mean uber-term "Voice 2.0" - and even Web 2.0 - it's a new way, and arguably a better way to do voice.

I've posted about PhoneGnome before. It's a great product, and the company has a very solid management pedigree. The company's founder, David Beckemeyer is definitely a VoIP visionary, and knows a few things about making VoIP consumer friendly.

So, what's the story here? Well, their 2.0 version is a browswer-based application, so you don't even need the PhoneGnome device to make PhoneGnome calls. I know Voice 2.0 covers a lot of ground, and to me that term applies to something that lets you do old things in new ways, as well as new things - and in this case, we're talking about making voice calls. Very simple stuff - a better way to make phone calls.

I know the market is deluged with all kinds of clever solutions and services that let you make and manage calls 100 different ways - any way except over the PSTN. And they all have their place.

I'm just going to focus on PhoneGnome here. The main thing is that unlike Skype, PhoneGnome is SIP-based, meaning it can interface with a pretty broad universe. Like any IM or P2P platform, you need to be "in the club" to use it, but once you are, the calls are free. Period. So, the hardware-based PhoneGnome allowed you make these SIP calls direct from your landline. The device allowed calls to other PhoneGnome users to go one way for free, and calls to the PSTN went another way, where you just paid cheaper long distance. And the kicker was you still retained your PSTN line, so you still had 911 and didn't lose connectivity if your Internet went down. In May, they even added a Skype interface, so you could also interconnect with the Skype network.

So, here's the twist with PhoneGnome 2.0. You need to be logged on, but once you're online, you can make calls from your landline, PC or your mobile phone. And without the need for any hardware. In that regard it's a lot like Skype, but you can reach a broader community for free, and you can do it over a phone - any phone. Furthermore, the party on the other end doesn't need a device either. So, it's very much an anywhere, anytime solution. That's Voice 2.0 to me.

There's more to the story than this, and the launch will be official tomorrow. If you can't wait, there's more you can read that was posted today on the PhoneGnome blog. And from there you can get the press release that hit the wires earlier this morning.

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