Netgear’s Wi-Fi Phone for Skype
The Belkin Wi-Fi Phone (model F1PP000GN-SK, right) comes in black and has a price of $190 on the Skype site [Belkin issued a correction after initial price misprint– MSRP is indeed $190]. Amazon has it listed at $180. Both sites list it as a pre-order, for release on August 31. The Belkin supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption. It was first hinted at in early June of this year. Belkin says it will sell in Asia, Europe and Australia sometime in the third quarter.
The announcement also specifies that the phone cannot be used for emergency calling, which is likely the case for all of them. None of these are dual-mode phones — they only support Voice over Wi-Fi, and don’t work with any kind of cellular/2G/3G networks.
Why are the prices so disparate? A Skype spokesman couldn’t say for sure, but said that factors include differences in screen resolutions and calling features.
A Skype wireless phone from Asustek was shown at CeBIT 2006 in March of this year, but is not part of this announcement. Last month, Philips Electronics said it would have a Skype phone (VOIP321) — though that phone is cordless, not necessarily Wi-Fi.
Other Wi-Fi handsets from vendors like UTStarcom, D-Link and Linksys will do much the same, but without Skype — they require the user to have a subscription with a SIP-based VoIP provider like PsipTN (in the case of D-Link).