Skype fans can now use their mobile phones to stay connected with their contacts. VoxLib has released its VOX for Skype software which lets people call their Skype buddies and listen to voicemail simply by dialing their SkypeIn account. Almost any phone and carrier will work with VOX because the software is installed on the computer instead of the phone.
After dialing into a SkypeIn number, users listen to several menu options and can call contacts by typing in the first three letters of the last name. Users can also learn how many missed Skype calls they have and can access their Skype voicemail.
VOX for Skype seems to be the modern equivalent of older calling cards where users called up a local number and then entered a longer distance number. In this case, users are simply bouncing a mobile phone call to a local SkypeIn number. While the VOX software is currently available as a free download, users will need to buy a SkypeIn account and pay normal airtime charges to call a local number. SkypeIn numbers currently cost 10 Euros for 3 months or 30 Euros for a year.
Since a computer running Skype and the VOX for Skype software needs to be running during the call, this software seems to be aimed at professionals who need to quickly leave their desks for lunch or errands. VoxLib claims that long distance phone charges could be dramatically reduced with their software.
We gave the software a quick test and found the installation to be quick and easy. A VOX for Skype icon will appear in the System tray and the software will synchronize with Skype. We then called our SkypeIn number and dialed a Skype contact. In the ensuing 25 minute conversation, we found the voice quality to be quite good and there were no connection drops.
We found one problem that wasn't an issue with the software itself, but with how BlackBerry keyboards are set up. Traditional home phones and many cell phones have the letter sets typed just above each number, but many BlackBerry phones including the BlackBerry 7520 don't have any letters above the number keys. This can make dialing someone's last name quite painful as you try to guess which number corresponds to which letter.
Fortunately, we found a trick that lets you dial easily dial letters by holding shift and then hitting the letter.