VoxOx “Universal Communicator” Rebrands, Updates to 2.5

I really want to like VoxOx. It’s a great idea: one program that does phone calls, IM, video chat, Skype messaging, conference calling, even incoming faxing. When you sign up, you can select a phone number in many areas of the U.S. and Canada that will be your “one ‘ring’ to rule them all.” (Don’t blame me for that groaner, it’s on the VoxOx website.)

Since I last wrote about VoxOx, it has improved considerably. The basic functionality works well. Incoming calls work fine; outgoing calls are available at competitive rates.

It’s been rebranded, and its screens are no longer the hideous and hard-to-see colors that they were in the last version. Managing one’s contacts has improved, and the service has some cool new features, like:

  • A free iNum, which is a special toll-free number that can be called globally.
  • The ability to share files of up to 100MB via chat, SMS or email.
  • A “universal translator” for translating instant messages on the fly.

Unfortunately, with an app that does this much, I suppose it’s inevitable that there will be shortcomings.

  • There is still no integration with my existing contact lists from Google (s goog), social networks, or the Mac (s aapl) Address Book. In fact, there is still no way to import or export contact information.
  • VoxOx doesn’t yet let you port your existing phone number to its service.
  • While VoxOx supports Skype messaging, you must have the Skype software open for this to work. That’s a limitation of Skype, and not really VoxOx’s fault.
  • While the interface is definitely more readable than it used to be, the Mac version doesn’t use native font rendering, so screen text is poorly displayed.
  • VoxOx doesn’t use oAuth or equivalent systems, so you must give the program your login information for the IM and social network accounts you add.
  • VoxOx is pushy. The software registers itself to start automatically on boot, and although you can turn this setting off, it should ask before adding itself to autostart. And whenever you add an account to the program, the option marked “Invite my contacts to VoxOx” is checked by default. I unchecked it, only to find that it was checked again the next time I entered that preference screen.
  • Surprisingly, there are no mobile apps for Android (s goog) or iOS (s aapl), and there isn’t even a mobile-friendly version of the VoxOx website. Apps are said to be in development.

I could live with many of these issues, but the inability to import and sync contacts is a deal-breaker for me. There’s no way that I can enter 1,600+ contacts!

VoxOx has promise, but I don’t think that it’s quite ready for professional use yet. Maybe by version 3 I’ll be able to use it regularly.

Have you used VoxOx? How do you manage your communications?

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