VoIP leader Skype announced today at IFA 2006 that its partners Philips and NetGear have each launched cordless phones which can place and receive calls both from traditional landlines and via the Skype VoIP service—all without requiring a computer.
“We are broadening our reach to mass consumers by offering them the opportunity to communicate via Skype without having to be tied to the computer,” said Stefan Oeberg, Skype’s general manager of desktop and hardware in a release. “Skype has already introduced Wi-Fi phones and Skype for PocketPC wireless. Now Skype is taking the next step and working together with Philips and Netgear to introduce PC-free cordless phones. The cordless phones for Skype launched today, give Skype users the flexibility to enjoy free Skype to Skype calls and inexpensive calls to ordinary and mobile phones anywhere in the house, at any time without a running computer.”
The cordless phones are a new class of Skype-enabled devices, offering users better mobility throughout their home and/or offices without being ted to their computers, and users can have multiple cordless phones which enable several simultaneous conversations. Both the Netgear and Philips offers have Skype running on them “out of the box,” but also operate as standard landline cordless telephones—handy for accessing emergency services, for instance. The phones ship with a remove DECT base station which connects to both the user’s broadband Internet connection and their standard phone line; both phones feature color graphical displays which enable users to sing into Skype accounts, manage contacts, synchronize contacts, and more—both phones also offer speakerphone capabilities.
The Philips VoIP841 cordless phone should be available in time for the end-of-year holiday season; no word on the availability of the Netgear phone, and no pricing details have been released for either unit.