An app that offers a range of features including low-cost SMS and international calls, phone callback, voice mail with transcription, and conversation-recording features sounds a bit like a magic bullet for many of the ailments that plague smartphone users. A new iOS app released today by Southern California-based VoxOx includes those features and others, and it's offering them for free in a partial port of its desktop software called VoxOx Call (iTunes Store link).
Following the desktop program revamp that the parent company Telcentris Inc., released at CES 2011, VoxOx Call offers a stunning range of free features. Users can initiate "callbacks" from the iOS app to any other phone, both in North America and worldwide. VoxOx says that its rates are competitive with those offered by Skype and Google Voice, and sometimes cheaper. The callback feature lets you initiate a call from the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, then have it ring a different phone such as your office landline. Once you pick up that phone, it will automatically complete the call to whichever contact you chose to connect to.
You can also send low-cost text messages worldwide. Where most phone carriers charge 5 cents to 10 cents per SMS, VoxOx charges you one to two pennies per message, even those sent internationally. There are no charges for incoming texts. The app supports multiple "star" commands initiated with the asterisk key, including conference calls that can host up to 20 participants and device transfer so you can walk into your home talking on your iPhone and switch it to your home landline without dropping the call. There's a star command for call recording, too, which e-mails you an MP3 of your phone call after you hang up.
Another feature ported to the iOS app is Find Me, which is an automated call-forwarding service. You can set it up to forward calls to multiple numbers if you don't pick up at the first number reached.
Other features include fax support, changing caller ID at will, e-mailed SMS transcriptions, built-in country-code lookup, and Google Voice-style voice mail transcription. VoxOx Chief Technology Officer Kevin Hertz said in a phone interview about the new app yesterday that VoxOx's transcriptions are better than Google Voice's. He also advised that although users can use any caller ID number they want, that they stick to numbers they actually own.
The app lacks some of the core desktop features, which Hertz said was why they called it VoxOx Call instead of simply VoxOx. The missing features include the instant message and social networking aggregation, although Hertz said he expects to add those soon. Telcentris is working on an Android version, he added, although he didn't have a timeline for its release.