The Future of PhoneTray

It’s hard to believe but PhoneTray is over 6 years old. PhoneTray Free 1.0 was released on October 18th, 2003. We were working on PhoneTray Free for all those years but other things always had higher priority. A big part of the problem is that PhoneTray Free is free. We get only 3-5 donations per month and we have to work on other projects and do consulting work to make money. That’s why new versions of PhoneTray are released not very often lately.

I know that many of you like PhoneTray and a lot of people find it useful: PhoneTray Free was downloaded over 2 million times and has (as far as I can tell) at least 50,000 active users. I want to assure you that we are committed to PhoneTray and want to continue development. I believe it’s our mission to save the world from telemarketers or run out of money trying 🙂 We are working on the new, designed from scratch PhoneTray software that will be much better than PhoneTray Free. Here is what we are planning for the future:

PhoneTray Pro

PhoneTray Pro is a direct successor to PhoneTray Free. It will do everything that PhoneTray Free does and will have improved interface and many new features. Below is the list of major improvements over current PhoneTray:

  • Automatic blocking of thousands of known telemarketers and phone scammers. Phone Pro will use our www.phonetray.net online database to block calls from phone numbers that telemarketers and phone scammers use. You will get automatic protection right away without manually adding numbers that you want to block.
  • Built-in answering machine. PhoneTray Pro will have built-in voice mail system that you can use instead of your answering machine. PhoneTray Pro will protect its voice mail from robocalls, so you won’t get recorded messages left by computer autodialers.
  • Network support. PhoneTray Pro will run on the computer that has dial-up modem connected to the phone line, but you will be able to get call notifications on any other computer on your local network.
  • Call recording. You will be able to record phone conversation when needed or automatically record all calls from selected numbers.
  • Direct modem access. PhoneTray Pro will work with modems directly without using Windows TAPI driver. This will improve caller id decoding and solve many problems with incompatible modem drivers.

We are planning to sell PhoneTray Pro packaged with the Hiro USB voice modem for $45-$55 or software only for $25-$35.

PhoneTray Web

PhoneTray Web will use the same core software as PhoneTray Pro but with the web-based interface. Small client software that uses your dial-up modem to monitor incoming calls will have to be installed on your computer, but everything else will be done on the web. Your data will be safely stored on our server, encrypted and password-protected. You will be able to access call log, voice mail, contacts etc. using your login/password from any computer connected to the internet. PhoneTray Web will automatically block telemarketers and phone scammers like PhoneTray Pro but will offer some additional features:

  • Voice mail with web access. As PhoneTray Pro, PhoneTray Web will have built-in voice mail system plus you can check your messages from any computer.
  • Web-based phone book/contact list. You can add your contacts to the web-based phone book and the contact info will show up on incoming calls. You will be able to synchronize your contact list with other services like Google Contacts, Yahoo! Contacts and (eventually) with your iPhone, Blackberry or Android phone.
  • Web-based privacy management. Like PhoneTray Pro, PhoneTray Web will automatically block thousands of known telemarketers and phone scammers. In addition, you will be able to change all privacy settings, create your own blacklists and whitelists, select zap messages etc. on the web.
  • Email and instant messenger notifications. You will be able to get incoming call notifications on your MSN Messenger, ICQ, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger and Google Talk. Also PhoneTray Web will be able to send you an email when a call comes in or when a caller leaves voice mail.

We are planning to offer PhoneTray Web service for $3-$5 per month. We will also offer a starter package with Hiro USB voice modem, client software and 3 months of  service for $30-$35.

We need your feedback!

There are only 2 of us who develop PhoneTray and we need to concentrate on one of those projects. What do you want more, PhoneTray Pro or PhoneTray Web? Eventually we want to have both but we have to finish one of them first.

[poll id=”1″]

Please vote and leave your comments. Tell us what you think about PhoneTray Pro and PhoneTray Web. Tell us what you want to get from PhoneTray in the future. Your comments are always welcome!

Published by

Michael Rakita

I am the founder and CEO of Traysoft Inc. I also design and develop software, provide customer support, manage our websites and do everything else including posting on this blog :-)

188 thoughts on “The Future of PhoneTray”

  1. I love PhoneTray. Simple, functional and well written. However, telemarketers change their spoofed CID regularly; so blacklists off a database ain’t gonna work. Here is what will: add regular expressions (regex library) ability to the blacklist and have a whitelist. That works because telemarketers make their CID names ambiguous, like “Customer Service” or “Los Angeles CA”. The other suggestion is add more handling options for when “Not Available” shows up more than 2 calls in a row. Sometimes the modem needs to be reset.

  2. I have to agree with the first poster here. I’ve been using this software since 2003, and it has stopped a lot of bogus callers on the phone. With update 1.39 lets see if my list will keep them at bay. But way the enemy is dealing his hand is trying to stop their calls from coming in. Why can’t this software work like my Panasonic DECT phone with Caller ID Voice and Caller ID Block. That phone system block calls on the first ring. I use that with the PC that stays on 24/7 and I’ve gone through several internal and external modems with Caller ID service since 2003. I get calls from the President, 0000000 / 0000000 or sorts they try to spool the signal and use all sorts of tones. I have several tones to block them also and keep them at bay.

    What I would add block calls with first ring instead of the second ring. Repeater callers should be automatically block with unknown name or N/A needs to be fixed. Also see what you can do with Peer Block and your app running at the same time I see there is a conflict with those two. I usually have to shown Phone Tray then turn it back on.

    In all excellent software. Will the free still be available even though the Pro will be out soon. I really don’t need a lot of bell and whistles. The old GUI is good enough for me.

  3. I’m a little confused. A year ago i requested notice when PRO becomes available. Haven’t heard anything but i see a ‘upgrade’ link on my Phonetray Free panel that goes to a $29 page. Is the PRO now ready, or what is the scoop? Thanks.

  4. I must agree with tipster about the one ring block… But I am happy with the fact that it does block the calls. While the web based software sounds nice the $3-4 monthly charge does not. I never have liked subscription based software.

  5. One thing you might add to Privacy Manager starting list are wild-carded entries for the 500+ currently unused area codes. I have received calls with numbers from these area codes spoofed onto CID.

    I added them one by one as they came in, until one day I located a list of them, created an Excel sheet of the entries required in the Privacy database then cut & pasted them into phonetray file.

    I can always delete one if it is put into real use.

    1. I agree that automatically blocking unused area codes is a good idea. In addition to that, we have been getting calls from spoofed numbers that include unused exchanges (the middle 3 numbers), so automatically blocking unused exchanges would also be a good idea.

  6. And once again Michael. Could we please have a update as to when you envision completing Phone Tray Pro. Some of us have been waiting for years….
    Thanks

    Hal Gross
    August 4th, 2011 – 14:15
    Michael maybe you could answer my post this time instead of deleting it.
    Could we please have a update as to when PhoneTray Pro will be available?
    From July 25, 2010
    Hey Michael,
    How about an update on the Phone Tray Pro progress. I think many of us are waiting to purchase this product.
    Thanks from a registered user of Phone Tray Free.
    Still waiting for a reply….
    ( REPLY )
    Michael Rakita
    November 29th, 2010 – 23:42
    I’m sorry PhoneTray Pro is taking so long. Old rule of software development says: “Get time estimate from programmers and multiply it by 3″. It proves to be true over and over. Too bad we can’t afford to work on PhoneTray Pro 100% of our time. It’s hard to say when it’s going to be ready if you work on one program full-time, but it’s almost impossible to estimate when you have 2-3 other projects at the same time.
    We have alpha version running but it’s missing several key features. I think it will take a month or two to get to the beta version. But you should take my estimate and multiply it by 3
    Sorry again for the delays with PhoneTray Pro. Believe me, we want to finish it as much as you do!

  7. What is the status of Phonetray Pro?

    Are we getting close to a beta release?

    I hope it will be worth the wait 🙂

      1. Michael, I thought I was on your Beta List? One suggesion, is it possible to have Phone Tray Pro also log outgoing calls? In my business (and certainly other business also) it would be great to be able to check when a number was called.

        Dave

  8. Really like the freeware and would pay for pro when available.
    One powerful feature: in the process of enhancing the wildcard support for the block/whitelist, make it so the list order matters. IOW the first match for an incoming call determines the action taken. That would greatly reduce the number of entries needed (and logically compared against) to implement sophisticated call handling. This is the same methodology used for network ACLs in firewalls, and it is very effective. The reduction in rules would also meake your online block/whitelist smaller and easier to download/reference.
    However, it is easy for novice users to make mistakes using this rule-based paradigm, so I would also recommend that this feature be tucked under some sort of advanced settings area in the prorgram. The feature could still be used by the program for automatically downloaded block/whitelists under the covers, however.
    I hope this is useful input.

    1. Thank you John, very good suggestion. In PhoneTray Pro we split Privacy Manager list into separate Black List and White List, so hopefully it will make adding rules easier and more intuitive. For example, you can have (555) ???-???? entry in the Black List, blocking all calls from 555 area code, and (555) 123-4567 in the While List, allowing this particular number from 555 area code to ring through. Similar to the current PhoneTray, full number match has higher priority than a wildcard match.

      Making list order matter is a good idea, but like you said should be an advanced option. We can’t make it a default option because number list imported from PhoneTray Free/Dialup won’t work properly and we want to make transition from old version to Pro as easy as possible.

  9. I really appreciate the PhoneTray Free software, especially since the Do-Not-Call registry is purely cosmetic, unenforced, and unenforceable. A program like yours is a very valuable tool.

    There is one additional feature I have often thought would be quite useful. I’d really like a “Zap Now” button, something I can click to send my SIT tone and disconnected message instantly when I see a caller ID which is not on my block list but is obviously zap-worthy. Since I’m at my computer during most business hours this would be very handy.

    Currently I have to click the task bar icon to open the Call Log window, then right click the newest number (the one calling now), then click “Add to Privacy Manager and block number(s).” That zaps the incoming call and gets the job done, but only if I can do it all before my answering machine picks up! 🙂

    So, maybe someday a little red “Zap Now” button in the tray balloon or better yet, on the menu bar of the main window? Maybe for the PhoneTray Pro version?

    Thanks for all your time and effort in providing and maintaining this great product!

  10. Great to hear the beta is immanent. But it’s been four weeks since your June 6 post and still no e-mail. Did I miss something?

  11. Great News I’ll be on that list to purchase this very well written and operating program. “Great Job Michael”. I have one question, I realize it would be impossible to have the modem answer on the first ring without passing that ring to your phone or phone system as the modems RJ14 connectors are in parallel. My question is their a device that can be placed in line between the modems line out and the phone that would prevent the first ring regardless if it’s a telemarketer or a valid call? This would eliminate some annoyances of single rings when a call is zapped.

    1. I’m not aware of such device but some wireless phones that allow to select custom ringtones don’t ring before the caller id is received, so they skip the first ring. Those phones don’t ring when a call is zapped.

      We are investigating another option as well (custom USB device that can receive caller id and control the phone) that will allow PhoneTray to stop phone from ringing completely when the call is blocked.

  12. I’m anxiously waiting for Phone Tray Pro. And I would love to see a simple logging feature for outgoing calls, one that logs the number, date, and length of the call made. Before trying Phone Tray, I tried the trial version of CallStation which had this feature. It is surprisingly useful in staying organized.

  13. Michael,
    Is there ever going to be plans for a product that doesn’t use a modem to intercept calls?
    The reason I ask is where I live now I have U-Verse wireless support for everything – TV, Internet, Phone and Cell phone. There is no way to hook a modem to my computer where it is currently located. U-Verse provides CID on all wireless TV hookups so the CID is available across my home wireless network as well as being broadcast to all TV sets as well. So you should be able to examine the CID without having to read it from a modem. Can’t it be accessed from Tapi.net or elsewhere on the home network?

    After all, more and more home networks are becoming wireless so depending upon a wired modem guarantees obsolescence ultimately. If U-Verse can read, decode and broadcast the CID then why can’t it be retrieved by PhoneTray?

    I just downloaded the new Beta of PhoneTray Pro but won’t be able to test it very much without making special hookups or obtaining a wireless hookup to the telephone outlet since i can’t run a hardwire from the closest telephone outlet to my computer currently since there are only two outlets. One is 4 rooms away and the other is two rooms away from my computer. So if PhoneTray Pro can’t read CID’s from the network the only way is to set up a wireless extension to the nearest telephone outlet unless there is a wireless modem that PhoneTray supports that I haven’t heard of.

    Just something to think about for a future release.

    1. Thank you for your suggestion Dale. I’m not sure if it’s possible to see caller id on your wireless network from the computer. U-Verse box probably gets it from the AT&T server and most likely it’s encrypted. Even if PhoneTray could get caller id from the network, it wouldn’t be able to block the call.

      If you can’t run a wire from telephone outlet to your computer, your best bet would be something like this:

      http://www.smarthome.com/4509I/Wireless-Phone-Jack-System-PX-211D/p.aspx

      You can use this device to add a phone jack in the room where your computer is located without running a wire.

      1. Michael,
        I do use a remote outlet. I use the Philips model and it doesn’t work. It reports the phone call, but doesn’t supply the CID info, only the date and time. In fact it generates “ghost” phone calls when nobody is calling me, like at 3:00 AM in the morning.
        Now I have switched to comcast from U-Verse because U-Verse serice is so terrible. Comcast uses Internet telephones instead of landline. So I have a 331 area code instead of the normal 630 that landline and cellphones in my area use. So I am back to having no input at all into PhoneTray. Comcast does also display Caller-ID information on the TV screen so the CID is present but I don’t know if it is encrypted as you think the U-Verse CID is or not. I’will check with Comcast Tech support and see if they know or not. I don’t have a clue as to the resolution to this problembut haven’t actually looked for one yet since I am still busy trying to set up comcast itself on my computers. I have spent an entire weekend just upgrading all of my software so I don’t want to look at PhoneTray right now since the software is a moving target at the moment. I haven’t even gotten my 4 TB WIFI data center working yet until I can get the software stabilized and the drivers for my NetGear ReadyNAS NV+2 reinstalled yet. I don’t want to do testing of PhoneTray until then since a moving target won’t give me solid results either positive or negative. Once I do that I can get back to seeing if I can get PhoneTray Pro Beta reinstalled and see if I can get it to work with comcast or not. This is moe work than when I used to do software for a living!

  14. Dear Michael: I am asking that you consider my name for trying out PhoneTray Pro beta.
    Thank you,
    Tom Lyons

  15. Mike, I’d like to try this Pro version you have too… for the Network side of it, saves me buying more modems after the lightning storm I just had that toasted another Zoom modem that worked with you software. Modems are a real pain to find ones that work. I’ve bought them from Hiro too and didn’t get them to work…yes I used your Agere chip drive versions too. I have three of them from HiRo… So, if you have a beta spot for me to download the Pro version so I don’t have to hunt down a “Working modem” and I can just use my Home Router net (roadrunner) That work be great. Party on Garth.

  16. Hi Michael’
    I love your phone block program. I am using Phone Tray dial up 2.39. I would like to have the pro version when you release it. I guess I would need the version with the usb modem, as mine in the specs says no voice.

    I vote for you to concentrate on the pro version without the web feature.
    Best regards,
    Eugene

  17. Hey guys, how about an update on how the Beta version is doing? Any anticipated release date yet for “public” version?

    1. Hi Fred! We just published update to v0.4 for PhoneTray Pro Beta. Major features like call log, call blocking, contacts etc. are working but there is still a lot of polishing to do and new features to add.

  18. I’ve just installed the newest update to PhoneTray Pro and it is making progress.
    The prior release would not log any calls at all.
    My problem is that I don’t have a hardwire outlet to plug my modem into so I bought a wireless outlet. It did nothing at all.
    With the newest Beta release, I am now getting each call received logged into PhoneTray Pro. The problem is that all that logs in is the date and time. No Telephone Number and no Caller ID.
    The unit is a Philips PH0900 which does support Caller ID. Even my HDTV which is driven by WIFI instead of being hooked to a landline displays the Caller ID incoming calls, yet PhoneTray Pro at least at this Beta stage doesn’t display Caller ID nor phone numbers being fed into the modem by this Philips wireless phone extension.
    That needs to be fixed before PhoneTray Pro is released as a finished product.

  19. Pro would be my choice. I am a paid user of the old program, and love it. Don’t want to be without.
    Ron Bechler, Michigan

  20. So, now there’s no more free software? Even for the regular software?? We all have to pay thirty bucks a year to use this now, minimum ? It’s a nice program and everything, but $30 bucks… I’ll have to go back to the web looking again for something to do caller IDs ..again. Thanks but someone on Disability has to live within their means. Thank you for the use while it lasted, it was very good.. It’s just looks like it’s swinging to the other side of Software useage. Pretty soon it’ll be joining the ranks of Metallica… Demanding all kinds of money ’cause it’s not selling enough albums, etc… then soon 25 cents per blocked call. Time Warner Cable’s ISP, Road Runner can be a mentor for it’s growth too.

    1. PhoneTray Pro is not $30 per year, it’s $30 one-time charge. If you want, you can pay $9.99/year for updates and access to online anti-spam database after the first year, but it’s completely optional. PhoneTray Pro will not stop working after one year if you don’t pay $9.99 and will continue to show caller id and block calls.

      We can’t work for free and we will not provide free software anymore. You can still use PhoneTray Free if you have it or find something else that will suit your needs.

  21. Question; if I have more than one PC on a network Router will I still have to install a plugged in Dial-up Modem/phonetray program software on each PC on the network for the Caller ID and Zapping to work or will it send the info across the router’s network, to the other PC’s on the network… Without the other PC’s having to plug in to a dial-up modem ?

    1. Yes, with the current version you have to have a dial-up modem on each PC. We’re working on network support in PhoneTray Pro that will allow to have a dial-up modem only on one computer and access it from other computers running PhoneTray Pro.

  22. Phone Tray Pro a glithcy flop of a program. Not only did it block a whitelisted caller but it also shows a blank list of yesterdays callers when there was a handful of calls coming into my home phone yesterday.
    However, PhoneTray Free works just fine and I never had such problems with it… which only goes to show ya that new and costly doesnt automatically mean better.
    PhoneTray Pro follows the same thinking of Microsoft… put a new face on the same old broad and suck the public into thinking they’ve upgraded.
    Nonetheless… the tactics employed by the PhoneTray people is they dont like truthful but negative feedback… they simply delete your membership to forums.traysoft.com so you cant tell the truth there nor here.

    1. Mike, why didn’t you answer my emails? I’m sure we can figure out what’s going on and fix the problem. If you don’t want to spend time on it we can issue a refund for your order. Just send us an email please.

  23. Don’t make the mistake of loading it up with a lot of esoteric fluff, making it too complicated to use. I like it the was it is.

    But you do make it difficult to renew my subscription. Sooner of later I may figure it out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *