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An Internet Phone That Fits on a Key Chain

Boot Camp feature for Monday, July 17, 2006

An Internet phone that fits on a key chain. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's the latest gadget from Internet telephony pioneer Vonage. The V-Phone is a USB drive that contains voice over IP software…that starts up automatically when it's plugged into a USB port. Vonage founder and chairman Jeffrey Citron says the big advantage is…there's no installation of software on the PC…

"And this of course is a very interesting product for businesses, because today most businesses spend a lot of money putting a very expensive product, an IP phone or a PBX phone on your desk. And we can replace that phone with the new V-Phone, and of course you have the added benefits of portability. You can take it with you, you can use it at work, you can use it at home, when you're on the road. Wherever you have access to a PC with a USB port and most people have access to those these days."

A headset simply plugs into the USB device. The pricing is similar to other Vonage offerings…

"Forty dollars for the device, it comes with 256 megabytes of storage. And the montly plans start at 15 dollars for 500 minutes, 25 dollars for unlimited calling for residential users and 35 dollars for unlimited calling for business users."

The big selling point is portability. The downside is unlike other Internet phone terminals or routers…it can't be used with a cordless phone system or a standard phone in the house. It's a step ahead for Vonage which has faced legal and other woes following its initial public stock offering in May. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.