Easy business with new invention: computer and phone in one device

V-phone is Vonage Holdings Corp.'s key-chain device that plugs into any USB port on any Windows-based computer to provide instant Internet calling to and from your number.

The $40 stick really just a USB drive pre-loaded with Vonage software and your account ID couldn't be much easier to use. Upon inserting the V-Phone into the USB port, the software boots automatically in most cases, displaying an a small orange window with number pad. Depending on the computer, it took anywhere from 30 seconds to 90 seconds to complete this instant setup, which includes online authentication between the device and Vonage's servers.

If the dialing window failed to appear, usually all that was needed was a click on the orange "V" icon in the system tray or a quick trip to "My Computer" to click the drive with the V-Phone. Only in one instance, on my office computer, the application encountered a conflict with the Windows operating system that required a slightly unnerving fix that involved renaming drives, the AP reports.

The device comes with its own jack for standard cell-phone earphones, a set of which Vonage includes in the package. This jack is a big plus, as it means you don't need to find the separate sound and audio ports on a computer, and in the case of a desktop machine, you needn't unplug the speakers to plug in your earphones.