Vonage, the VoIP company with an incredibly annoying theme song ("Woo Hoo") just released the V Phone, a VoIP phone contained inside a USB thumb drive which we mentioned a few days ago. I've been playing around with it for a while and can state conclusively that, yes, it is a phone and, yes, it does work.
As the hype from Vongage suggests, it really is just a matter of plugging the USB drive into a Windows-based PC's USB port (again, us Mac and Linux folks get the shaft) and waiting for under a minute for the software to automatically run. From there, a simple GUI greets the user, where the only input field visible is the space for a phone number. I gave our favorite News Editor John Biggs a call and his sweet, soothing voice came through just fine. It doesn't sound as good as POTS, but since we've gotten used to cellphones that sound like 9s7f4m NES sound effects, the V Phone gets the job done. The included headphones resemble the earbuds packaged with the iPod and the mic works well enough for what it's tasked to do.
As an added bonus, I took to repeatedly inserting and removing the V Phone from the USB port without properly unmounting the drive first, just to see how durable it really is. Several insertions and removals later, it still worked, so there should be no problem if you forget to properly unmount the drive first.
The Vonage V Phone works as advertised, and if you're already a Vonage customer, the $39.99 price tag isn't unreasonable. But if you're not a Vonage customer, there's really no need to all of a sudden become one, especially since its much-touted portability is no match for that cellphone you've got in your pocket.
Product Page [Vonage]