Out and About

This ultraportable, voice-enabled memory stick gives new meaning to the term "mobile phone."
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the April 2005 . Subscribe »

It's sort of a telephone on wheels. The VoiceStickfrom i2Telecom is smaller than a lipstick case, barely a decent-sized key fob, but it can unlock an unlimited number of local and long-distance phone minutes for you as well as carry a good number of your work files on the road.

It's another one of those new wowee-zowee VoIP devices that will draw a crowd in a Starbucks or an airport lounge--just two of the places where you should be able to quickly make phone calls from any desktop, laptop or handheld with an internet connection and an open USB port.

VoiceStick is truly plug-and-play: no manual required. Just plug the voice-enabled memory stick into your computer and put its high-quality Plantronics earpiece/mic combo into your ear. Configuration is automatic: On first use, an installation screen will pop up so you can register for a calling plan and load VoiceStick's few operational files. Load them onto your hard drive or run VoiceStick from its flash memory: That will still leave most of its 50MB of storage available for file backup or transfer or to hold your PowerPoint sales presentation.

VoiceStick's on-screen dialer and minute-tracker pop up automatically to show which of i2Telecom's domestic and international calling plans you've selected and the calling time remaining. Choose from monthly rates of $10 for 60 minutes, $14 for 500 minutes or $24 for unlimited calls to any phone in Canada and the United States. Additional minutes are available for 3.5 cents per minute with a one-year contract, and international calls carry various low rates, depending on the country.

As with all other IP phone services, you can make an unlimited number of free domestic and international calls to other i2Telecom subscribers. So for as little as $20 per month, traveling co-workers can constantly stay in touch with each other or the office for free.

Over the years, we've grown accustomed to needing a certain amount of hardware--usually wall-mounted--to make phone calls. But future phones will definitely be mobile--some no more than an earpiece and a directional mic.

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