Skype phones extend free Internet
calls one-step further. With Skype phones, you can throw
away the headsets and use a hard phone that looks and
feels like a traditional phone. Skype is currently the
largest, free Internet telephony software maker in the
world and moving into the Skype phone market, as opposed
to the pure desktop software market, is a leap ahead.
Skype, based in Luxemborg,
has offered free worldwide peer-to-peer Internet telephony
(VoIP) service for several years now. What this means
is that you download the free Skype software onto your
PC, Mac or PDA (or a few other devices), install the
software, plug in your headset and start talking for
free to friends worldwide that also have Skype installed.
If you'd rather can someone on a traditional landline
or cellular phone, then Skype also offers deeply discounted
rates for this service as well.
current Skype phones include the Cyberphone
K and the Cordless DUALphone. Cyberphone K is
a USB handset that somewhat resembles a television
remote control, only more stylish. The Cyberphone
K is available exclusively for Skype users.
The Cordless DUALphone is both a cordless Skype
phone and a landline in one. The range of the
Cordless DUALphone is approximately 800 feet.
Skype has also teamed up with
phone-maker Siemens to help penetrate the cordless market.
Siemens has developed a USB adapter that lets Skype
users plug-n-play a cordless phone into their PC's.
The Siemens Gigaset M34 USB PC adapter works with the
recently launched Gigaset C340/345 and Gigaset CX340/345isdn,
Gigaset S440/445 and Gigaset SX440/445isdn, Gigaset
S645 and Gigaset SL440.
Skype WiFi phones are on the
verge of becoming a reality. PDA-maker, i-mate has already
introduced its wireless PDA device proloaded with Skype
software. CEO Niklas Zennstrom reported that a mobile
version of Skype will be available this year at the
April 2005 VON Conference in Toronto.
Creators of KaZaA, Niklas Zennström
and Janus Friis, are also the founders of Skype. Skype
has received many awards and rave reviews for innovation
and marketing. An article in Fortune magazine quotes
Michael Powell, chairman, FCC as saying, "I knew
it was over when I downloaded Skype. When the inventors
of KaZaA are distributing for free a little program
that you can use to talk to anybody else, and the quality
is fantastic, and it's free - it's over. The world will
change now inevitably."
eBay, Inc. has decided to purchase
Skype for $2.6 billion in upfront cash and eBay stock.
Skype, eBay and PayPal will create an unparalleled ecommerce
and communications engine for buyers and sellers around
the world according to reports. It will be interesting
to see if the three companies can become integrated
in some way or if Skype will remain a standalone company.