Linksys, Skype team on Internet phone

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Cisco-owned Linksys and internet communications company Skype will market a cordless phone that lets users make free Skype calls when they’re not sitting at a computer.

Cisco-owned Linksys and internet communications company Skype will market a cordless phone that lets users make free Skype calls when they’re not sitting at a computer.

The new Linksys Internet Telephony Kit (CIT200) -– the first Skype-enabled product with a Skype starter pack -– lets users make calls while they roam around their home or office.

The kit included a handset, charger and a USB base station that plugged into a computer’s USB port. Users could take calling off the PC and into other rooms using the compatible USB base station.

The handset reads and displays callers’ Skype contact list and lets callers know which of their Skype contacts were online and ready to be called.

Graeme Reardon, regional manager for Australia and New Zealand at Linksys, claimed callers could walk 300 metres outdoors and 50 metres indoors using the handset.

It would be sold through retailers such as Dick Smith and Harris Technology, as well as other reseller channels. “It’s an opportunity for customers with an existing Skype line on their PCs to untether themselves,” he said.

The majority of sales were expected to be through retail, he said.

Reardon said the Asia-Pacific region is a key market for Skype. The region made up a “substantial proportion” of the 178 million Skype downloads worldwide.

Earlier this year, Skype reported around 500,000 active Skype users in Australia, he said.

Reardon expected the arrangement to increase the awareness of VoIP technology.

The CIT200 was being launched on 17 October from more than 3000 online and high street retailers in Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
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