Even before we got our first iPhone (Debbie's 2G), I've been talking about the major impact an app like Vonage could have on the device.
Think about it. For us Vonage users, with a mobile app, we could:
- automatically forward our landline to our cells while on the road
- get access to all of our digital voicemails and transcriptions
- see our latest inbound and outbound calls
- even make calls on our cellphone through our landline number
It'd be an amazing app. But it's not even close to the one we got. Yes, I know you can do most of these things by visiting their website, but it's slow, not mobile-friendly, and does more than an app needs to.
Instead, Vonage puts out a Skype-like mobile calling app, targeted at non-Vonage users who want to be able to make calls over WiFi (and now 3G). So you have to buy minutes to make calls. And can't do anything whatsoever related to your landline account.
It's totally pointless. Why would Vonage ignore their current users by making an app that doesn't do anything useful for them at all?
Well, there may be a legitimate excuse. But it's a total cop-out. And I doubt it's the actual reason they used to justify making this pointless app.
The ideal Vonage app sounds a lot like Google Voice. You know, the app that currently has Apple/AT&T/Google under scrutiny from the FCC. Being able to have "one number to manage them all" is great for users … not so much for telecom providers. Especially if it's not their number.
Considering they've never been an especially cash-steady company, Vonage doesn't have the ability to get caught up in a legal mess. But it's a dumb argument, since all of the app features are currently available — just in an annoying, non-usable fashion.
I don't know who to blame for this, so in a spirit of fairness, not only will Vonage take blame for being wimps, Google, Apple and AT&T also need to be called out for causing this situation.