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05. 24. 2006

Netgear WiFi phone for Skype

wifi_skype.jpg

Technology occasionally freaks me out a little bit. I mean, when I really think about it. How the telephone works, how the Internet works, how television works - just the hugeness of it all. Such reflective moments usually occur on the announcement of a new product, one that makes me notice how fast everything is progressing. That's what happened this time anyway, when Netgear announced its WiFi phone for Skype. Netgear claims it to be "the worlds first wireless Internet phone", which is an astonishing statement. No longer will you need to use a computer to connect to Skype. You'll simply be able to make calls from any WiFi location. The phone's interface has been specifically tailored for Skype too, with the dynamic contacts list appearing on screen in much the same way as the full Skype client. Unfortunately, the phone does not have any web-browsing capabilities, and therefore can't be used in any WiFi hotspot requiring a web-based login.

The phone makes its debut at just the right time. Skype recently announced that its SkypeOut service, which allows callers to dial landline or mobile phones from their computer, will be completely free for users in the US and Canada (until the end of the year at least). Skype will continue to charge for its SkypeIn service, a way of making calls from a landline or a mobile to a Skype client. With this service, you can even set up call forwarding to allow your Skype phone to forward to your cell phone when you're on the move. The WiFi phone can handle all this, as well as voice mail, straight out of the box, so no set-up or installation is necessary.

Netgear's WiFi phone will be released in July and is available from Skype's own site for 140 in the UK or $250 in the US.

Posted by Stuart    Category: devices
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