Skype With a Phone

UPDATED: A Danish electronics company announced yet another way Skype fans can
choose between Internet-based or traditional phone calls.

The DualPhone 3088, available Dec. 1, is the latest handset erasing the need for a computer, according to RTX Products.

DualPhone 3088

DualPhone 3088.

Source: DualPhone

The handset, priced at US$206, is compatible with both traditional
wired telephony and Skype-based Internet calls. An always-on broadband
connection is required.

The DualPhone goes on sale in Europe and through Skype’s online store. The announcement follows an earlier one by Netgear,
which unveiled a Skype-compatible wireless phone at this year’s Consumer
Electronics show.

With a color screen, the device offers 10 hours of talk time and 140 hours
of standby.

The news is further sign Skype is trying new things, said Will Stofega, VoIP
analyst with IDC. While analysts believe Skype is popular, few feel they can
point to reliable numbers. Skype said its free software has been
downloaded 100 million times.

“Those download numbers don’t mean anything,” Lynda Starr, a Frost &
Sullivan senior analyst said. Starr said there are 7.8 million worldwide users — 3 million of whom are paying customers. Starr said the U.S. market
is likely the smallest region for Skype, with just 300,000 paying customers.

A real benchmark would be how many subscribe to Skype’s pay services,
SkypeIn or SkypeOut, Stofega said. The IDC analyst is preparing a report on
Skype to be released in December.

Stofega said the deep pockets of eBay allows Skype to escape the need for a
different business model.

While it is difficult to determine the level of Skype’s success, the
Internet phone service is very clearly having an impact. Skype has become
as common as instant messaging in enterprises. However, the application
still needs to gain legitimacy for greater company adoption, according to
Stofega.

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