I was recently watching Techzilla (my lunch time tech fix) and they reviewed the Obi from Obihai. The Obi unit allows you to make calls over the Internet. You connect it to the Internet via your home router and plug in a regular old analog phone and you’re ready to make calls to other Obi users for free. You do need to setup a free account on the Obihai website. Just that functionality alone is pretty cool, but it gets better. You can also connect the Obi unit to your Google Voice account and make and receive calls via your Google Voice number. Plus Google is offering free long distance calls in the US and Canada through the end of 2011. They did this last year as well and the extended it through 2011. I’m hoping that they’ll extend the free calling once again. Even if they don’t I suspect the calls will only be about $.01/minute which is still pretty cheap.
It took me about 15 minutes to setup. Nothing too complicated. They have pretty good step-by-step instructions on the Obihai website. Once done I tried calling my Google voice number which worked fine. I then place a call from the phone attached to the Obi unit and it worked as well. New phone setup in under 30 minutes. One thing to note is that the Obi unit does not support 911 calls.
There are two Obi units available, the 100 and the 110. The only difference is that the 110 adds a port to connect an existing land line if you have one so that calls from Google Voice as well as you land line will ring through to your phone. The price of the Obi 100 on Amazon is $43.99 and the Obi 110 is $49.99. Given that it’s only a $6.00 difference I went with the Obi 110.
So, if you want to get rid of your land line, add a business line, or just add another line in your house, the Obi might be just what you’re looking for.