Skype, the global Internet communications company, is setting conversations free at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show with the announcement of new devices and accessories that improve the Skype experience for consumers and small business users regardless of where they're located - at home, at work or on the move.
As part of Skype's efforts to bring more flexibility to communications, the company unveiled twelve new Skype Certified devices and accessories in a press conference today, many of which eliminate the need for a PC to make Internet-based Skype calls. The new devices and accessories, from leading consumer electronics manufacturers ASUS, IPEVO, NETGEAR, Philips and TOPCOM add to the more than 150 Skype Certified products already available worldwide.
The latest hardware announcement comes on the heels of the company's release last month of its new Skype 3.0 software, which provides Skype users with even simpler and easier ways to talk to one another, as well as new range of richer communications features designed to bring together users who share similar interests. Some of these new features include community-led text chat and discussion (Public Chats), live moderated conversations (Skypecasts) and the ability to play games and collaborate with other Skype users (Skype Extras).
New Skype Desktop Internet Phones
The newest Skype Certified hardware category to emerge in 2007 is Skype desktop Internet phones that enable users to place and receive calls with Skype via broadband Internet connections without being connected to computers. The first products in this category include:
* IPEVO's Solo.1 - This uniquely designed Skype desktop Internet phone with built-in speakerphone features an adjustable 2.4-inch color screen that allows users to select contacts, add new contacts, and perform other contact list operations. Caller information and remaining Skype credit are shown as well.
* TOPCOM's Webt@lker 5000 with Skype - This attractive device comes with a large 2.4-inch color screen and can be configured to work in any of 14 languages.
New Skype Certified Cordless & Wi-Fi Phones
CES 2007 builds on the innovation Skype demonstrated in 2006 when it introduced Wi-Fi phones that let Skype users make and receive calls in any open Wi-Fi network without their computer, and cordless dual phones that let users plug into both their landline and broadband connections to make and receive both Skype calls and regular PSTN phone calls. Marking the expansion of these categories, Skype is debuting two new phones, including:
* NETGEAR's Dual-Mode Cordless Phone with Skype (SPH200D) - This dual-mode DECT cordless phone simultaneously connects to a user's home network router and phone line wall jack, enabling users to place and receive both traditional phone calls and Skype Internet calls from a single cordless handset without needing to be tethered to a PC.
* Philips' VoIP841 Cordless Phone - This advanced DECT cordless phone harnesses the power of Internet calling via Skype without requiring a PC. Winner of a CES Innovation Award for its outstanding design and best-in-class feature set, the VoIP841 allows users to make and receive both free Skype Internet calls and traditional landline calls simply by connecting an Ethernet cable and phone line to the phone's base.
New Skype Certified Accessories
In addition to cordless, Wi-Fi and desktop Internet phones, Skype's partners are also introducing additional accessories that will help users make Skype Internet calls from their computers. These accessories include:
* ASUS' AiGuru S2 Cordless Phone - The stylish AiGuru S2 is the world's first USB phone to offer support for Skype, Windows Vista SideShow, and both Apple iTunes and Windows Media Player for wireless music play. Its slim design, brilliant color display, backlit keypad and simple menu structure and interface make the cordless AiGuru S2 easy to use around the house or office, regardless of where the user's computer is located.
* ASUS' Skype-Embedded Motherboards - The TA-CP600/400, M2N/TeleSky, P5B/TeleSky and P5LD2 SE motherboards come pre-loaded with Skype so that PC DIYers can turn their ordinary corded or cordless phones into multi-function phones that also support Skype Internet calling. After installing these motherboards, people will be able to use their regular phones to operate Skype to talk to other Skype users for free on the Internet, make cheap calls to landline and mobile phone numbers or receive incoming calls.
* IPEVO's free.2 USB Handset - Available in black and white, this corded USB phone for Skype features the same design of the multiple-award-winning free.1 phone, but with an extended range of functions thanks to an added LCD screen on which users can browse the Skype contact list, view the calling history and call contacts, without needing to look at the computer monitor. The free.2 also includes a recording button for instant recording.
* IPEVO's TRIO Speakerphone - This innovative two-in-one device connects to a Skype user's computer via USB and can be used as either a hands-free speakerphone or a personal handset.
* Philips' VoIP080 USB Handset - Offering users the benefits of Skype Internet calling, the VoIP080 handset is an ideal travelers' companion, allowing users to connect with family and friends easily through a computer's USB connection, while delivering premium conversation quality with clear voice sound.
All of the new devices and accessories support Skype's premium features, including SkypeOut (call from Skype to traditional landlines or mobiles), SkypeIn (a number people can call that users answer in Skype) and Skype Voicemail (takes calls when users are busy or offline).
Access to a broadband Internet connection is required for Skype and all Skype Certified devices and accessories. Skype is not a replacement for your traditional telephone service and cannot be used for emergency calling.