Computer-centric phones have relatively few features compared to the phone-centric providers in the previous chapter. Why? Because phone features are primarily applied to the receiving party, and computer-centric phones still have trouble receiving calls in many cases.
Honestly, the feature list does lag behind even traditional phones. However, many of the features that traditional telephones and phone-centric vendors seem most proud of don’t apply to the computer-centric services. Long distance? Cheap on Vonage, but free on Skype. Caller ID? Skype shows user profiles.
There are some features that attract users, of course. The highest attraction value is the power of community. If your company or a group of your friends use a computer-centric service, you’re likely to sign up for that service. The easiest way to get involved with one of these softphone-based services is to sign up in pairs. You and your friend or family member plan to communicate over long distance, and these services offer you a free way to do so.
Money, of course, is the second reason to sign up for Skype or their SIP cousins: they are free to install, free to register, free to use, and free to disconnect when you’re tired of them. No shipping fees (at least not for the software phones), no activation fee, and no fees of any kind from state or local governments.
There aren’t a lot of features, but the ones here work well. While all the computer-centric phone ...