The first generation of VoIP services -- Vonage, Skype and others -- used computer and Internet technologies to make voice communications cheaper (and often free). Now a second generation of services is integrating VoIP with mobile and POTS handsets and services as they try to find ways to compete with their more established big brothers.
Some of these services offer a complex mix of features while others are one-trick ponies. Some charge for their services while others are free (or, at least, free while they experiment with product and market demand). They all push the envelope of what you can do with various combinations of voice calling, text messaging, e-mail, and the Web -- and they create an opportunity for you to do some nifty new tricks with your telephones, voicemail, and text messaging at little or no cost.
In this round-up, I look at three categories of services that are now being offered by some of these new companies. They include: