Yahoo and Linksys today announced the availability of a new dual-mode cordless phone that provides traditional landline service as well as low-cost Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls using Yahoo Messenger with Voice.
The $99 Linksys Dual-Mode Cordless Phone (CIT310) gives consumers the flexibility to make and take VoIP calls as well as place and receive phone calls using their traditional landline/PSTN connection.
Messenger users have a convenient and fun alternative to make free Internet-based calls to friends and family on their Yahoo! Messenger Contact List. People subscribing to Yahoo! Phone Out can use the cordless phone to make an Internet-based call to any traditional or mobile phone at very low rates.
With the use of the USB base station, the phone gives people the freedom to take their Yahoo! Messenger with Voice calls away from the PC and into other rooms, just as they do with mobile or cordless phones. People have the flexibility to instantly switch over from VoIP to a traditional landline phone service with the touch of a button.
Additionally, by programming the phone with a local zip code, people are able to search for a local restaurant (or any other local business) and effortlessly call the restaurant with one click. People also have access to weather forecasts through a weather search setting.
The Linksys Dual-Band Cordless Phone for Yahoo! Messenger with Voice includes a handset with color display, and a USB base station that plugs into a computer’s USB port and a port for a traditional landline/PSTN connection. Initial customers purchasing the Linksys Dual-Mode Cordless Phone will receive 100 free minutes to make Yahoo! Phone Out calls to any traditional or mobile phone. It also features Phone In: Phone-to-PC calling.
The Linksys Dual-Mode Cordless Phone for Yahoo! Messenger with Voice (CIT310) is immediately available through Amazon.com and will be available through other leading online retailers later this month. The Estimated Street Price is $99.99.
T-Mobile rolled out its @Home service in Seattle last month, reports PhoneScoop. @Home is T-Mobile’s brand name for Universal Mobile Access (UMA) which allows a cell phone to make calls over a Wi-Fi hotspot in addition to the cellular network. It doesn’t use a landline — just T-Mobile’s cellular service and broadband.
Skype’s VoIP service has also been incorporated into cordless and WiFi phones made by Netgear, SMC and others. But those phones still are pricey (in the $200-$300 range) without the practical convenience of a landline or cellular connection.
Skype 3.0 would bring online business functionality that eBay alluded to when it purchased the company last year. The next version of Skype will enable people to post a link on a blog or Web site that will take people to a public chat room when clicked on.
Katie Fehrenbacher explains; “Probably the most interesting feature is the plug-ins for Firefox and IE that turns phone numbers on web sites into Skype buttons where users can click-to-call”.
The live chats would be “Skypecasts,” which Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström described as public conversations or audio conferences that people can moderate. He would not provide a timeline for the features except to say it would be “soon.”
Skype expects to generate $195 million in revenue for 2006, more than twice the $60 million it made the previous year.