Telcos, upstarts revamp voice

We had been getting lulled into a false sense of security about voice telephone service, but just when you thought a major legal battle (between Verizon and Vonage), major financial problems (SunRocket) and a major service outage (that would be Skype) had VoIP on the ropes, new concepts continue to redefine the market.

Ooma debuts commercially this month, a few months behind the MagicJack intelligent USB device that simplifies VoIP configuration over a broadband connection. Meanwhile, the traditional telephone companies are doing all they can to bring new features--some of them, like messaging, straight from cell phones-- into the landline world. Don't be fooled. Voice will never be just voice again, and free or extremely inexpensive applications and devices have forever altered its value.

For more:
- The Los Angeles Times reports on Ooma and Magic Jack
- Telephony covers the "Walmart-ization" of voice
- And read about wireline phone revamps in The Wall Street Journal (Sub. req.)