Sponsored By

CES: More Device Makers Embed Skype's Chat/Voice Techs Out Of The Box

Although eBay is having a tough time getting a good return on its investment in Skype, the VoIP provider's star continues to rise on the OEM front where more and more gear makers are including Skype's technology in their wares before shipping to them to the market. Some of the newer devices with Skype inside that the company is showing here at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas include Nokia's 810 wireless Internet tablet, a cell phone from Hutchison 3 (the GSM-based mobile carrier that

InformationWeek Staff

January 7, 2008

3 Min Read

Although eBay is having a tough time getting a good return on its investment in Skype, the VoIP provider's star continues to rise on the OEM front where more and more gear makers are including Skype's technology in their wares before shipping to them to the market. Some of the newer devices with Skype inside that the company is showing here at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas include Nokia's 810 wireless Internet tablet, a cell phone from Hutchison 3 (the GSM-based mobile carrier that operates in Europe and Asia-Pacific), and a desktop Skype phone (hardwired) from Belkin.

According to Skype spokesperson Chaim Haas, the 3Skype phone from Hutchison's 3 mobile network is one of the first cell phones to come with Skype's technologies built right into it. The idea is that from one single cell phone, you can make a regular voice call or, if you want, contact someone on your Skype buddy list via chat or voice at no charge.

The phone has some whizbang features for managing contact data. For example, it can import your contact list from the Skype service in such a way that you can add landline data and then, from there, make a choice as to the preferred method for reaching someone at any given moment (landline or Skype?).

Although it's not available domestically here in the US, the phone is available from 3 in other countries like the UK under two plans. One is a pay-as-you go plan that, in UK for example, costs 12 pounds per month. The other plan involves a purchase of the phone for 50 pounds and a 10 pound per month charge.

Also on being shown by Skype here at CES is Nokia's latest Internet Tablet (the 810). The 810 is just now becoming available on the market and two major differences compared to its predecessor (the 800) are its hideaway keyboard (the 800 was pure touchscreen) and the fact that the Skype client is built-in. The 800 supported Skype, but it was through software that had to be installed by the end-user after the fact.

Finally, the third product shown in the above video is Belkin's $99 Desktop Internet Phone. Via an RJ45 jack on its bottom side, end users must hardwire the Belkin phone to an Ethernet hub or switch. The phone competes with two other Skype-enabled desktop phones: IPEVO's Solo and TopCom's WebT@lker 5000.

As has always been the case with wired Skype phones, end-users cannot make 911 calls with them (this is possible with some of the cordless Skype phones since some of them can make use of a POTS landline). The net result is that you still need access to a landline (preferable) or cell phone in case of an emergency. I asked Haas if we might see a hardwired desktop Skype phone with an RJ11 on it any time soon (in other words, a desktop phone that operates in both modes -- Skype and landline). Haas could not comment on the undisclosed plans of the growing number of gear makers joining the Skype ecosystem.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like


More Insights