Philips bundles Skype & Windows Live VoIP with cordless phones

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Knowing About, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. Philips has launched in Australia two cordless phones selling for less
    that $160 that operate both as PSTN phones with one model supporting
    Skype and the other Windows Live Messenger.
    Both are designed to work with a Windows PC running the respective
    standard softphone client and Philips claims that, if the PC is set up
    and working with the softphone, the cordless phones are totally plug
    and play with no set up required. Full Skype or Windows Live
    functionality, including conference calling and instant messaging is

    Both products will be widely available through retail outlets under a
    distribution deal with Ingram Micro. Mark Franklin, director of Ingram
    Micro Australia's communications division, said that cordless phone
    sales in Australia were running at around two million units per year
    and growing. With the Philips units being within the price range for
    standard cordless phones, Franklin said they would be an attractive
    alternative, but acknowledged that there was a challenge in education
    the retailers to promote the products effectively.

    He said the products were targeted at mainstream consumers, not the
    technically savvy section of the market. As such they represent an
    interesting new option: there are already WiFi cordless phones
    available that incorporate the Skype softphone and work with Skype
    without the need for PC.

    For the potential buyer contemplating the two units they will also have
    to choose between Skype and Windows Live versions: a choice likely to
    be determined by whether their contacts are predominantly on Skype or
    Windows Live. (The phones are visually quite different: The Windows
    Live version is black, and the Skype version white).

    The phones' base stations connect to the PC via the USB port and use
    the international standard DECT technology for the wireless link, not
    WiFi. Philips claims that because the DECT frequencies are reserved for
    cordless phone application, the phones are less prone to interference
    than WiFi and also have better indoor coverage.

    The Skype model, the Philips VoIP321 sells for $129.95 in a single
    handset version and $199.95 in a two handset version, both are packaged
    with 60 minutes of call credits for SkypeOut calls. The DECT standard
    supports up to five handsets per base station, but Philips says there
    are no plans for other combinations or for single handset sales - it
    cites market research as indicating consumers rarely upgrade after the
    initial purchase. However as the phones are DECT standard, any DECT
    handset will be supported for PSTN calling.

    The unit has a monochrome backlit screen that shows the user's
    contact list and which contacts are online. It automatically
    synchronises with the PC contact list. It has an inbuilt speakerphone
    and remembers the last 20 missed calls and 10 received calls. Up to 50
    phone numbers can be stored. You can get more information about this
    phones on

    Windows XP or 2000 is required. There are no confirmed plans to offer a
    version that will work with Skype on the Mac. Kelly Poon, market
    development manager for Skype Asia said the Skype softphone for
    Windows, Linux and Mac OS X were quite different and any decision to
    have the phone work with these would be up to Philips. Matt Moran,
    general manager, Consumer Electronics Philips Australia, said he
    expected a Mac version would be available, but could give no concrete

    Also, although it was claimed that the product's functioning would
    not be affected by upgrades to the Skype softphone, the phone comes
    with a version of the Softphone on CD with instructions that this
    version should be used for the phone to work correctly

    The Microsoft Live Messenger version is rather more expensive and
    $159.95 and $249.95 for the dual version, largely because it has a full
    colour screen, which maintains the look and feel of Microsoft Live on
    the PC. It is also able to emulate the multiple account feature of
    Windows Live, enabling each user to select their own account and view
    their own contact lists. It is also a speakerphone.

    For Further Information :
    Knowing About, Aug 15, 2006
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