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April 21 2006

Standalone Skype Phones At Long Last!

Netgear is finally taking pre-orders on their SPH101 Skype Phone. The bad news? Amazon.com is listing it for $249.

So, why am I still tempted to buy this? IT’S SKYPE…WITHOUT A COMPUTER! *runs around the room until he passes out* It works with 802.11g WiFi and backwards compatiable to 802.11b (non-tech speak:99% chance if you have WiFi in your home/work/school, this will work for you). Now you could finally receive a Skype call when your computer is turned off and you are in a totaly different room. So long as there is a WiFi connection, this sucker will work.

Now, carry this idea further…city wide WiFi hot spots. If it works with them (more on that in a second), you would be able to go anywhere in a city and use the phone. SkypeOut and SkypeIn work with it, so your phone calls to-and-from landlines and mobile phones would still work. With that in mind, would you need a cell phone with a monthly contract? Would you need to worry about overages? Nope.

I don’t want to seem all Pollyanna about it, there are some cons to it. Ever been in a hotel that reuires you log in before they will let you surf the web? This phone won’t work on those connections. No text messaging. City wide WiFi is still unproven to be effective in large office buildings. $249 is a tad steep.

My recommendation is you wait for the technology to get some of the bugs worked out and for the price to come down. It gets to a version 2.0, the price drops to around $100 – $150…I will be killing all the analog landlines in my life off.


Oh yeah, did I mention it’s ugly?



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