When you hear about a soft VoIP phone you may wonder what the name implies, especially if you are completely new to VoIP systems. It may make you wonder, what kind of phone system is cuddly and soft? Or not. Whimsy aside, the phone-type, perhaps more commonly referred to as a VoIP softphone, or less colloquially as VoIP software phone, is really software which turns your computer (or increasingly, cell phone) into a VoIP phone.
One benefit of a soft VoIP phone is that you can choose software which is compatible with the programs or sites you already use. For example, many major instant messaging programs and social network sites have a VoIP plan which would automatically add your pre-existing contacts into your contract list. Examples of popular options include Yahoo Messenger, MSN and somewhat recently, Facebook.
It is also possible, with the advent of the Google Android and iPhone apps stores, to turn your cell phone into a soft VoIP phone. There are numerous applications which are installed as applications and allow you to place calls through your phone’s internet service (though this still works best when using a local Wi-Fi connection). This way, you have the ease of using your regular cell phone, but you are placing calls through a VoIP provider, essentially bypassing your mobile service provider’s minute limitations.
When setting up your soft VoIP phone, you need only need one piece of hardware: a headset. Alternatively, you can use a microphone and a set of speakers (or headphones). This simple equipment requirement makes it easy to get started right away – most computers and laptops have speakers and microphones built in. This also makes it the least expensive option, because you probably won’t need to buy anything. A Soft VoIP phone is probably the most common method of communication for gamers, who speak to one another online through their game of choice’s VoIP system. But it is also popular to use for work and social networking communicating – especially when the communication is happening across the globe.