MagicJack, Simpler VoIP than Skype?

Who says the TED conference is only about movie stars and old basketball players? According to MarketWatch columnist Herb Greenberg, TED will be the official launching pad for MagicJack, a USB-based VoIP offering from telecom vet Dan (Tel-Save) Borislow that could make Skype’s simple setup look like calculus.

According to the just-live MagicJack website, the main “magic” appears to be an oversized-looking thumb-drive thingy with a USB connector on one end, and an analog phone jack on the other. Greenberg’s column says the total price for a device and a yearly subscription for all-you-can-eat dialing in the U.S. and Canada should be between $50 and $60 $29 and $39 the first year, $19.99 a year thereafter; so far, no other details have surfaced on how the pricing, connection and billing actually work, and whether it won’t be another free-calling fiasco.

Asking whether it could be a Skype-killer, like Greenberg does, is pure linkbait — at $50-60 $29-39 for the first year, $19.99 per year thereafter plus international charges, ain’t no way that’s gonna beat free, especially since millions of folks have found Skype plenty simple and already have it installed. But is MagicJack the type of innovation that should have communications conglomerators like Cisco, Microsoft and Avaya worried? Much more likely, but that doesn’t fit as nicely in a headline.

UPDATE 1: Pricing info from Greenberg column corrected throughout.

UPDATE 2: See some additional info from Borislow in comments.

Hat tip to IP Democracy for the link.