Netgear’s Skype phone certainly hasn’t been in a rush to come to the UK since it was unveiled in January, and now Belkin has punished its tardiness by announcing a launch for its cheaper alternative.
The ingeniously named ‘Wi-Fi phone’ offers exactly the same money-saving bonuses as the August-due Netgear. To make a free call all you need to do is track down a Wi-Fi spot, find a fellow Skyper in your contacts book, and call them via the pre-loaded software.
The interface has been designed to replicate the PC-based Skype experience, which means you can look up your mates’ online availability before calling, and there’s a WPA security facility to keep your chats private.
You don’t need to be an existing Skyper to play – the phone will let you set up a free account – but if you do already have a list of contacts on your PC, the Belkin mobile will handily grab them from Skype’s servers.
We still prefer the Netgear’s looks, but Belkin’s phone will almost certainly be cheaper – it’s going for $200 (£108) in the US, rather than the slightly painful $260 (£140) Amazon has listed for its foe. Stay tuned for more updates.