Update #3, 01/25/13: The OBi100 is currently on sale for just $37.99 and the OBi110 is currently on sale for just $39.99 shipped from Amazon!
HT: arch, via DDF
Update #2, 12/26/12: Google has once again announced that US and Canada calling will remain free throughout 2013!
I also use GrooveIP on my Android when abroad to make free calls back to the US via Google, so that will remain free for 2013 as well. Thanks Google for the gift that keeps on giving!
Update #1, 12/20/11: Google has announced that US and Canada calling will remain free throughout 2012! My OBi110 continues to pay dividends, hopefully it stays free for years to come as well!
Originally posted on 03/28/11:
If you used to be landline-free like me, don’t forget to also pick up a phone like this VTech Dect 6.0 cordless phone with caller ID for $19.95, or the 2 handset version for $29.96, or the 2 handset version with a digital answering machine for $39.99.
Quick FAQ’s about this device:
-It works with any regular phone.
-It makes regular outgoing and incoming calls with caller ID.
-Calls are free from anywhere in the world to US and Canada numbers.
-You can call international numbers for very little per minute. Israel is 2 cents per minute to landlines and 10 cents for cell phones. All rates are listed here: https://www.google.com/voice/rates
-You can only port a cell phone number to Google, so if you want another number you’ll have to first port it to a prepaid cell service (page plus, att, tmobile, etc) and then port it to google.
-It costs nothing per month after you buy the machine.
-You don’t need any other phone service, just broadband (DSL/FIOS/Cable) internet service.
-You do not need a computer.
-You do not need a phone jack.
The device is a conduit between your broadband connection and a landline phone for free phone calls with no monthly service fee and no cost for making calls!
It performs all kinds of tricks, but the main feature that I got it for was its very easy setup with Google Voice. It works with any regular or cordless landline phone for free incoming calls, free outgoing calls to the US and Canada, and Google Voice’s dirt-cheap international dialing rates. Your computer does not need to be on for your phone to work.
You can also plug in a landline phone, or another VOIP service like Ooma or Magic Jack, into the device and you’ll be able to access multiple different lines of service from your landline phone.
Here’s what I did:
-I opened up a new Google Voice account (there’s a limit of 1 per email address) and got a vanity number. (Google Voice allows you to search their database of free phone numbers for any combination of numbers or letters)
-I charged the cordless phone for 24 hours and then set it up. With the easy instructions I was able to set it up in less than 15 minutes and the call quality has been very good! It displays the caller ID number for incoming calls and Gmail will even notify you of and transcribe voicemails!
Google has already announced that the free calling will last through 12/31/11. After that nobody knows, but here’s hoping Google continues to allow the free calls forever!