Well, this is the coolest thing we’ve seen so far at CES. Netgear has announced a Skype enabled mobile which serves up the ultimate in internet telephony – free calls, wherever there's a network connection.
Looking not unlike a Sony Ericsson handset, the Netgear Wi-Fi phone will bring mobile internet telephony to desk-bound Skype users the world over. No more faffing about with your PC or laptop. It’ll work wherever you connect to a wireless internet access point - be that in a home, office, cafe, or open public hotspot.
The phone’s pre-loaded with Skype’s software and ready to use the minute you rip it from the box. Just enter your Skype username and password and you’re away.
Skype may not be the first VoIP provider to offer a stand-alone Wi-Fi phone, but the mobiles mean that you will get all the freebie joy of calling fellow Skype users anywhere in the world for nowt, while still being able to call non-users for a small fee with the SkypeOut feature. It's also a big springboard for the internet telephony giant towards the mass market, which will be fuelled by its new alliances with the hardware big guns (story here).
In addition to the phone, the Netgear RangeMax Wireless Router will be available for hooking up to your new phone, which will no doubt have DECT phones the world over fretting about being made obsolete.
There are currently only 10 working units in existence, but news on availability will surface some time in the first quarter of 2006. All Netgear are saying about cost is that it will be 'very competitively priced'. If it means we can get rid of our landlines, we'll be there waving our credit cards regardless. Stay tuned for more info.