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Netgear, Skype developing Wi-Fi phone
Partnership enables Skype users to make calls anywhere they can get a Wi-Fi connection
By Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service
January 05, 2006
Skype users will be able to make calls from anywhere they can get a Wi-Fi Internet connection when Netgear and the Internet voice service provider begin selling a phone that Netgear will demonstrate at the International Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas.
Phone manufacturers are lining up to supply hardware for fast-growing VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) services and applications at this year’s CES. The Skype-Netgear partnership unveiled Wednesday will deliver what the companies called the first Wi-Fi phone to deliver the full Skype experience. Skype and Vonage announced other partnerships on Tuesday.
Skype is a peer-to-peer Internet telephony application that typically uses client software loaded on a PC. Talking with other Skype users worldwide is free, and calls to non-Skype users are available for a fee through the SkypeOut service. Netgear’s phone will come with the Skype software pre-loaded so all users need to start making calls is a Skype username and password, the companies said in a press release. The user’s list of Skype contacts will come up automatically. Anywhere the user can get on the Internet via Wi-Fi, including public hotspots, the user will be able to make calls, they said.
More information about the Netgear Skype phone, including pricing and availability dates, will be available later this quarter, according to the release.
The phone will be part of a family of products that the two companies are working on, they said: The companies also are working on a router equipped to optimize Skype calls.
Online auction giant eBay, in San Jose, California, bought Skype last year. Netgear, in Santa Clara, California, makes networking products for homes and small businesses.