Q: How does Phone Amego compare to Dialog?
A: Dialog is primarily a Bluetooth Speakerphone with call recording. Phone Amego (PA) offers more extensive Mac-to-phone integration.
Some notable features:
PA includes CRM integration (Daylite, Address Book, built-in, Cloud, etc)
PA works with many phones and softphones (landlines, VoIP, cell phones, Skype, Bria,
iSoftphone, Google Voice, Polycom, Yealink, Snom, Cisco, Vonage, Ooma,...)
PA displays incoming SMS.
PA woks with Growl and Notification Center.
PA can block unwanted calls.
PA does web reverse lookup.
PA can log calls to iCal or a separate Call Log.
PA supports multiple phones concurrently.
PA shows real time phone and call status.
PA can dial extensions or touch-tones during a call.
PA supports AppleScripts to pause iTunes, or integrate with other tools.
Phone Amego includes a Bluetooth Speakerphone but I haven't promoted this much because it doesn't work reliably on some Macs. For best results, I recommend using headphones or an external Mic and turning off echo suppression. With PA, you can try before you buy.
If you wish to record calls on your Mac, you can use a 3rd party audio utility like Audio Hijack from Roque Amoeba. Alternatively, many ITSPs (Internet Telephone Service Providers) offer this feature (including Google Voice for inbound calls). If you route calls through Google Voice (or other ITSP), you can simply ask it to record and it will comply with the legal requirement of beeping or alerting your peer that the call is being recorded.
Q: How does Phone Amego compare to Dialectic?
A: Dialectic is a scriptable dialer (with inbound call notification) that works with many IP phones and services. If you need more options to work with your phone system, this is it. Where I think Phone Amego shines is its simpler user interface, more focussed integration (iCal logging, event URLs, caller ID lookup), keeping notes on each call organized by caller in a shared database (lightweight CRM), dialing an extension, sending touch-tones during a call, and support for Whozz Calling hardware. Phone Amego emphasizes minimalist UI and deep integration with popular phones.
Dialectic emphasizes dialing over caller ID in the way it interfaces with Bluetooth cell phones. Dialectic doesn't open a connection to your phone until you ask it to dial, and then as soon as it is done dialing it closes the connection. Phone Amego maintains a connection to your phone any time it is within Bluetooth range so it can track call status including Caller ID, dial an extension, or send touch-tones.
If Dialectic is connected to your phone when a call arrives (inbound call notification), you will need to manually switch the Audio Source back to your phone. Phone Amego does this for you automatically based on your selection (Accept Hands-Free: when selected, Always, Never, or Disconnect During Call). If your iPhone moves in and out of Bluetooth range, Dialectic will not automatically resume monitoring for Caller ID each time your phone is within range.
When Dialectic is used for dialing VoIP phones or services, there is no attempt to track call status. This allows Dialectic to support more services, but support is often limited to dialing to initiate a call.
Q: How does Phone Amego compare to ApiMac Caller ID?
A: ApiMac Caller ID provides basic Caller ID with Address Book integration. It supports Bluetooth and landline phones connected via modem. Where I think Phone Amego shines is handling proximity transitions smoothly, Google Voice integration, dialing, canceling a call in progress, and support for iPhone. As of January 2011, ApiMac Caller ID is no longer listed on the ApiMac website.
Q: How does Phone Amego compare to CIDTrackerX?
A: CID Tracker provides basic Caller ID with Address Book integration for landline phones. Its other main feature is the ability to distribute Caller ID information using the standard NCID protocol (but NCID only distributes name, phone number, and date, there is no call status or remote control).
Q: How does Phone Amego compare to BluePhoneElite 2?
A: BluePhoneElite 2 (BPE2) is certainly a powerful program. If you are looking for SMS integration and extensive synching and call logging features, or support for a specific Bluetooth phone, it's a fine choice. Phone Amego strives for a different balance of simplicity and useful features. Where I think Phone Amego shines is simple usability, Google Voice integration, landline support, VoIP support, Caller ID sharing, and sending SMS to contacts from your Address Book (via Google Voice) even with iPhone. As of 10-Sep-2010, BluePhoneElite2 is no longer available.
Q: How does Phone Amego compare with VonaLink ScreenPop?
A: Both products provide VoIP Caller ID, but they use different approaches.
VonaLink ScreenPop monitors VoIP (SIP) traffic on your LAN, so is compatible with most SIP based VoIP services. In order to monitor SIP traffic, you must use an Ethernet hub (not a switch) to connect the WAN side of your VoIP adapter to the Ethernet port of the computer running the VonaLink software. Wireless connections are not supported.
Phone Amego connects directly with Linksys/Sipura or OBiHAI VoIP telephone adaptors, and Popular IP phones (Polycom, Yealink, Aastra, Snom, and Cisco) to read call status. There are no restrictions on your network topology, but you must use one of the supported telephone devices.
VonaLink ScreenPop can block calls based on the calling number. Google Voice and other VoIP services now provide call blocking. Phone Amego can block calls when connected via Bluetooth, USB Modem, or IP phone.
Q: Is there a similar program for Windows PCs?
A: The closest similar program I've seen is Ascendis Caller ID. Like Phone Amego, it supports a range of phones (using Windows TAPI) and Whozz Calling hardware. Like Phone Amego, it supports Caller ID, dialing, and keeping notes on each caller in a shared database. As far as I know, TAPI does not yet support Bluetooth cell phones like the iPhone. Also, there is little web integration compared to Phone Amego (reverse lookups, event URLs, iCal logging, Google Voice, Growl, or Dropbox support).
Another program that does support iPhone is W7 Caller ID.
Q: Can Phone Amego replace the answering machine feature in Parliant's PhoneValet Message Center?
A: No, Phone Amego focusses on Mac-to-phone integration, not being another phone or answering machine.
From a broader perspective, Phone Amego works with many kinds of phones which do not consistently provide call audio. Telephone answering machines have become an application that runs on the server. Almost every cellular and Internet phone service now includes this as a standard feature allowing you to access your phone messages from anywhere. There's a quiet revolution underway as the old 4 kHz narrowband phone system is being disrupted by a combination of cell phones and Internet phones with advanced features and HD (High Definition) sound. Modular (RJ-11) telephone jacks are being replaced by SIP and HTTP over Ethernet. This trend no doubt influenced Parliant as they evaluated whether to continue developing PhoneValet Message Center.
Phone Valet uses a private label OEM voice modem made by Conexant. I understand this particular model may no longer be widely available. Without a reliable source, compatible Mac OS X driver, or technical documentation, it is difficult for Phone Amego to work with this device.
I contacted Parliant about using their adaptor with Phone Amego and received the following helpful information.
Most standard AT command set commands should work. To work, it needs the FTDI serial driver. It is located in our software or can be downloaded here: http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm. Note, the user will have to uninstall our software, and then reinstall the driver (afterwards) - as our software will connect and "grab" the modem and not let your app use it.
Q: Does Phone Amego work with Daylite from Marketcircle?
A: Yes, Phone Amego provides built-in Daylite Integration and also includes AppleScripts to work with Daylite using FoneConnector.
Q: Does Phone Amego work with Contactizer Pro?
A: Yes, you may need a more recent version of Contactizer Pro available from here.
Q: Does Phone Amego work with other Network Caller ID services?
A: Not at this time. Phone Amego uses a two way protocol for sharing information so you can reject an incoming call from a remote client, or dial a phone attached to another computer. Phone Amego also uses Bonjour networking to make it easy to discover other services, see who you are subscribed to, and who is subscribed to you.
The standard NCID (Network Caller ID) protocol just sends a line of text containing the phone number, name, and date. Phone Amego offers a richer experience by showing which device received the call and the current call state. Phone Amego also allows remote dialing and hanging up or cancelling a call in progress.
Q: Does Phone Amego work with MagicJack?
A: Yes, in this way: MagicJack provides an analog phone jack which Phone Amego can work with as if it was a landline. To use Phone Amego with MagicJack, you can use a telephone line splitter to connect a USB modem in parallel with your telephone handset that plugs into the MagicJack. See Landline.
Q: Does Phone Amego work with Ooma Telo?
A: Yes, in this way: Ooma Telo provides an analog phone jack which Phone Amego can work with as if it was a landline. To use Phone Amego with Ooma Telo, you can use a telephone line splitter to connect a USB modem in parallel with your telephone handset that plugs into the Ooma. See Landline. If you have an Ooma Bluetooth Adaptor, Phone Amego can connect to your Ooma as if it was a Bluetooth cell phone where Phone Amego acts as a Bluetooth Headset.
Q: Do You Have Any Plans to Support Using the Mac as a Speakerphone with Landline Compatible Phones Like Ooma?
A: No, Phone Amego focusses on Mac-to-phone integration, not being another phone. If you are looking for a more elegant speakerphone with low cost Internet phone service and better integration, consider upgrading to an industry standard SIP phone or softphone.
Q: Does Phone Amego work with VoIP Softphones?
A: Yes, Phone Amego 1.3.7 (or later) allows dialing with CounterPath X-Lite 4 or Bria 3. Only dialing is supported at this time due to a bug in reading call status from the current version of these softphones. I have reported the problem to CounterPath and understand they will investigate the issue. If you have any insight to help resolve this, I'd welcome your feedback.
Q: Does Phone Amego work with Skype?
A: Yes, Phone Amego (1.4c5 or later) includes support for Skype. You can get on-screen Caller ID, call logging, dial calls, answer, end call, and send touch-tones. To add Skype as a telephone device, press "+" below the telephone devices table, navigate to "Softphone -> Skype", and press "Attach Device".