Skype, which popularized free and cheap phone calls over the Internet, is set to launch a customized cell phone developed jointly with 3 Mobile, a wireless carrier in Europe, Asia, and Australia, reports Business Week.
Code-named the “white phone,” the Skype handset will be introduced by late October in Britain, Italy, Hong Kong, and Australia, and will reach 3’s other five markets later, BusinessWeek has learned.
3 Mobile won’t charge extra to use the Skype feature, however customers will be required to spend a certain amount per month for other services, such as regular mobile calls, ringtones, or text messaging, according to TechCrunch. TechCrunch says the handset is said to have been developed by iSkoot and is equipped with multimedia capabilities and high-speed data for mobile Web browsing.
There are no immediate plans to bring the device to North America, though the companies may try to license it to other carriers or sell versions straight to consumers for them to use on other networks.
The Skype phone might resemble the NSA’s smartphone (right), at 1/100th the cost.