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Make Skype calls without a PC

Philips, Netgear unveil next-generation phones

Philips has announced a phone that allows users of Skype's internet telephony service to make calls without having to boot up their PCs.

The VoIP (voice over IP) phone, the VOIP841, is the first such phone to be based on DECT (digital enhanced cordless telecommunications) technology, Rudy Provoost, CEO of the Philips Consumer Electronics division, said yesterday at a news conference at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin.

Yesterday, Skype separately announced that Netgear will also deliver a Skype phone that operates without a PC.

Typically, Skype phones work through a computer or a laptop. The Philips and Netgear phones plug into a broadband connection jack and a standard home phone jack. They can send and receive Skype calls over the internet as well as calls from a landline.

Pricing details for the phones were not revealed. The VOIP841 will be available in December, while availability for the Netgear phone was not immediately available.

The new generation of phones could help Skype reach a larger group of consumers who are not tech-savvy and tend to shy away from phone gadgets that require computer knowledge.

In July, Skype announced that several manufacturers, including Netgear, planned to deliver Wi-Fi phones preloaded with the VoIP service provider's software client. The phones were slated to hit the market in the third quarter.


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