VoxOx is a Voip service from a phone company located in the United States. The client integrates all of your contacts into one interface, allowing you not only to message your friends on Yahoo and AOL network, but also call them cheap if you know their numbers.
This service allows you to register a local phone number in many of the USA cities and some cities over in Europe. It means that some of your friends or distant relatives may call you for almost free. Since in many countries incoming calls are free, then theoretically for 20 dollars a year it is a good deal. On the other hand, you can get a world number - they call it an international number or iNum. The description on the website are hard to follow, but in essence, it is a reversed phone card. Your friend from abroad, can dial a phone number in their country, enter your iNum number and get connected with you - you pay for the call as if you are calling them (cheap for the most countries).
The client itself allows you to chat with your friends on other Instant Message networks, such as MSN, ICQ, Facebook, MySpace and others and all of it in one VoxOx interface. The client supports free VoxOx to VoxOx audio and video chats. Unlike Skype, you get to control your video quality by controlling the limit of the bandwidth.
Skype is using their own proprietary encryption in their protocol, but there were reports, that the secret services of certain countries could hear on the conversations without any problems. While most of us do not have anything to hide anyway, some organizations might need an elevated security measures so their trade secrets are safe. VoxOx to VoxOx conversation can be encrypted with AES 128 bit key and uses Diffie-Hellman for the key exchange.
This client is still evolving and the service is in its infant steps, but you can already see that it has the potential to be better than Skype. I am sure if the developer plays his cards right, this program can become Skype's alternative.
Below are some benefits and disadvantages of the client and the service:
Benefits: cheaper than Skype's plans (on average by 2 dollars) and cheaper per minute rates (1 cent compared with Skype's 2.2 cents for calls made within the USA). can act like a phone card, so no need to be bounded by some buggy software (like Skype users do). All conversations are tabbed in one window - it is quite convenient.
Disadvantages: to use Skype account, you actually need to have Skype running in the background. There are no notifications when the connection to an account fails. You actually have to go to a menu to see what was the problem and correct it. The software is quite buggy - for example, a typed text would show up twice sometimes.
Overall, if you are reading about this program, then you should definitely check it out. If you have your kids study abroad, then this service might work for you - cheaper phone calls abroad and your kid will always be able to call you, even when her funds are running low. If you call abroad, well start saving with cheaper VoxOx rates, than Skype's per minute rates.