Staying connected with MagicJack has come a long way since its promising debut in 2007-08. Back then, MagicJack provided a highly economical and portable alternative to traditional phone, which still remains a major draw to date.
The evolution of smartphones, long distance calling cards and smartly packaged phone plans however, threw up fresh challenges of portability, easy installation and low-cost operations for the leading VoIP applications of recent times. To its credit, MagicJack helped by responding well, and its smartphone app opened up wider opportunities to render features for the company.
The original app, released with MagicJack Plus was named FREE Calls, leveraging the signature feature with a conspicuous “Talk Free” icon in green background. While designers were left a touch cold with the flat, 2-D look – user survey metrics from Coremetrics and GoMez showed a high degree of appreciation from users who appreciated the call clarity, purpose, and free use of the app. While the new app has catered to their largest user-base of all Samsung, Android and iOS users (including Tablet users), it doesn’t have support for Windows OS and Blackberry platforms yet. That, however, is set to change soon with extensive upgrade plans included for next generation of devices (MagicJack Go).
True to its brand identity, the MagicApp boasts of some arresting features:
- 100% Free Calls to U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican phone numbers and any other MagicJack number across the world. This, combined with the fact that the app itself is free to download (no hidden costs), and doesn’t cling on to your mobile minutes or eat into your voice plan making it highly budget friendly. Compared to other connectivity apps like Viber, Skype or WhatsApp, the MagicApp is certainly a cut above both in terms of clarity and costs. Usher in the era of truly ‘unlimited’ local, international (only to other magicApp and magicJack users) and long-distance calls with this app.
- Auto-sync contacts – The MagicApp is designed to sync up automatically with your Android or iOS contacts if you want it to, lending it a high degree of device portability.
- Works without a MagicJack account – Even if you don’t have a MagicJack account, you may use the App! Yes, you read that right. You may download the app and make outgoing calls to numbers in the U.S., Canada, or other MagicJack numbers. No more tedious sign-ups, no more service charges until you’re satisfied. For existing users it is simple to login and logout of your account.
- Unified Contact Number – You can use the same number for your physical MagicJack device (used as a landline alternative) and your downloaded application. Once you log in using your primary magicJack account on the app, both your MagicJack device and smartphone with MagicApp installed ring at the same time, ensuring you never miss another incoming call.
- Intuitive interface – The basic user interface is highly intuitive, in addition to auto importing of contacts, it also keeps a log of recent calls, segregating the incoming and outgoing twains, as well as offering free voicemail service. For those familiar with smartphone usage, everything shows up right where you expect them to, aiding a seamless transition. Controls and other relevant buttons are also clear and easy to spot for even first time users.
- Incoming calls are easy – Beginning and ending with asterisk, you can accept incoming calls to your MagicApp from anywhere in the world. Simply have them dial 1-305-848-TALK (1-305-848-8255) and enter the MagicJack number e.g. *000-EXA-MPLE* and you’re done!
- Excellent Call quality – MagicJack lives up to its reputation of high definition audio quality. White noise and static interference is kept to negligible levels, emphasizing their investment in call quality.
- Texting Coming Soon – Best of all is the App is currently in beta testing for texting and that update is expected very soon. This will make it better than any of the other free texting apps such as Skype, Viber, WeChat, Tango and WhatsApp. The key difference is that these other apps are limited to messaging other users of the same app. While the magicApp will be a true ‘texting’ app instead of just a messaging app disguised as a texting app. This is because with it you will be able to text any number in the whole world for free, these are the rumors anyway. We however will have to wait to see if magicJack can actually deliver on this promise.
It isn’t all rosy though. Like any app in development and beta-testing mode, the MagicApp still has some rough edges around its corners. While the quarterly conferences promise of further advancements, there are couple of features which could do with some attention:
- Multiple Numbers – While the MagicApp designates the same number as your MagicJack device and unifies that account, as well as syncs up your contacts, it doesn’t auto-identify the profile of your actual cellphone number. So all your contacts, who might have until now dialed your cell phone number or had it saved on their side, will see a new number if you connect via MagicApp. Minor quibble, agreed, but since they already had the software to identify the contacts, it would’ve been nice to go that extra yard and unify it all.
- One MagicApp Account per Device – This isn’t a huge letdown, since MagicJack is still majorly a single account per device sort of service. The physical MagicJack device also de-activates the old MagicJack account if you’re trying to register with existing user credentials, hence it isn’t a surprise that the MagicApp also restricts you to just one MagicJack account per device, no matter how many different instances of the app you might have downloaded.
- Android 2.3 or iOS 3 – Again, a small issue with graceful degradation, as the app does not respond to older versions of Android and iOS beyond a point. Then again, there’s seldom a chance that a modern smartphone user wouldn’t have the latest operating system.
In a nutshell, the MagicApp does take a bold step forward in extending its free calling services to the world of smartphones. The services are still a work in progress outside the major operating systems of iOS and Android but the technology, interface and call-quality are excellent thus far.
They need to add more digital features (at least texting and file transfers) as well as figure out a way to cut down international calling incoming charges further, particularly for users outside U.S. , Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Canada, but that shouldn’t take away from a solid debut.