Robyn, at VoIP-Weblog also has some thoughts on the SoftGnome too.
Like them, I've had the opportunity to play with the BETA version too. I even pulled a few friends in with me who I know have a PhoneGnome too. While Damon shared his experience with the Windows version, I've gone the other route, using it on the Mac with the XTEN EyeBeam.
In comparing the service against ITSP Junction Networks and also BroadVoice, the SoftGnome to SoftGnome telephone calls were much clearer, easily on par or better than Skype To Skype or GizmoProject.
I then put SoftGnome to the test. My fiancee, who lives 500 miles away, did her set up, install and voila, we were talking in minutes PC to MAC, Mac to PhoneGnome, her PhoneGnome to my Mac. For someone who lives by her cellphone, she's gotten to know her landline again.
Since we have a trip coming up to celebrate our first full year this weekend, she'll be more connected to her family, colleagues and patients (she's a doctor) more than ever. With the little Mvox speaker phone and SoftGnome I gave her she now has an extension of her home phone that lets her call the office from anywhere as if it's a local call.
I guess I could give her an ITSP calling plan for Long Distance on a Pre-Paid basis as a neat anniversary present, but I'll just let her share mine. I mean, we now share everything else as SoftGnome's SIP credentials makes that possible. Since the phone number on the SoftGnome is the same as my home line for inbound and outbound caller ID, the only thing we'd be sharing is the account minutes. My SIP credentials already reside inside a Zyxel WiFi phone and Xten's EyeBeam, so putting them in a third endpoint isn't an issue.
What i also like about this is I can really be nomadic and no one will know where I am. I've been wanting this option from my other VoIP providers. Vonage came close with their softphone, but it cost ten dollars a month, required a different number. I already have enough of those, and this really makes my life easier. Sure I can do the same thing by dialing into the CallVantage POPs around the USA, but with SoftGnome I can go anywhere I have an IP connection and just dial and everyone will think I'm home.
As broadband access gets better, with better processors on all kinds of devices, and SIP clients for them, the ability to stay connected gets better all the time.
Pal Alec Saunders has some comments also.