Skype announced a new cordless phone on Thursday that sends and receives Skype calls just like a landline, but without the need for a computer.
Typically, Skype phones work through a computer or a laptop. The new Philips VOIP841 plugs into a standard RJ-11 home phone jack, as well as into an RJ-45 broadband connection jack. It can send and receive Skype calls as well as calls from a regular home phone number.
"So now in order to have Skype, you don’t have to have a PC," said Manrique Brenes, director of hardware business development for Skype. But you do have to have a broadband connection.
"If someone calls on the regular phone, it will ring. If someone calls you on your Skype, it will ring. It’s similar to the experience you have on the laptop, but it’s a lot easier to use. We’ve had a lot of success with the regular USB phones, and we think this is taking it a step further."
Skype partnered with Philips to make the new cordless phone, but they expect to partner with other manufacturers in the near future. The phone will debut at the Internationale Funkausstellung, a consumer electronics show in Berlin, on Thursday. It will be available to consumers during the holiday buying season for around $150.
The Philips VOIP841 has a screen with an interface that looks like Skype’s program where users can log in with their password so that the phone automatically downloads the users’ Skype contacts. Users can also search for Skype contacts directly on the phone and add them to an integrated contact list for both Skype contacts and traditional phone numbers.
Although a cordless Skype phone could in theory replace a home phone, Brenes was careful to point out that replacing landlines is not the company’s intention.
"Ultimately, we don’t intend to be a landline replacement service," Brenes said. "Landlines provide services that we don’t provide, like emergency calling services. We see this as an extension of our Skype plan, that provides video and file transfer that the landlines don’t do. This is essentially a bridge between your traditional landline and the Skype experience."
Brenes said that a cordless Skype phone is ideal for consumers who make a lot of international and long-distance calls, but aren’t necessarily computer savvy.
"My parents for example are really not computer centric people," Brenes said. "So I can get one of these devices for them, hook it up to their broadband connection and suddenly you don’t need a computer. My parents have children that are still teenagers and they have a PC with a broadband connection, but my father never sits in front of it."
With the success of Skype, telephony vendors seem eager to bring the service to business and home lines as quickly as possible. On Tuesday, Actiontec announced a Skype-approved private branch exchange (PBX) product that allows every phone extension in an office to make and receive Skype calls without changing existing phone equipment.
Designed for businesses of 10 to 300 employees, the VoSKY Exchange is a videocassette-sized device that plugs into the PBX on one end and a Windows XP computer on the other. It adds up to four outgoing Skype lines to the PBX, with rollover capabilities in the event that one line is busy. It is available now for $799.
News Source @ Natali T. Del ContePCMag