WiFi Skype phones, a very good idea

If we were allowed to run a wireless network, I would think very seriously about buying a WiFi Skype phone – a product distinctly more novel than the much touted Apple iPhone.

Basically, you have a little device that looks like a cell phone. It searches for wireless networks, connects to one if available, and then uses it to make calls using Skype. More people should use Skype. Calls to anyone who is online are free (as is always the case with Skype) and those to normal phones are cheap (two cents a minute to Canada, from anywhere in the world). For those in the UK, there is a deal right now: a Skype WiFi phone, a wireless router, 900 SkypeOut minutes (to call normal phones), and a year’s worth of voicemail for £99 ($230).

Not having to use a computer, and being able to use the phone anywhere there is a wireless network are pretty excellent features. Of course, the real fun will begin when somebody makes a combined device that can access GSM cellphone networks at times when WiFi is unavailable, but otherwise routes calls through Skype.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

11 thoughts on “WiFi Skype phones, a very good idea”

  1. I am on the St. Antony’s College network, and they fear that hardened criminals and Angelina Jolie-esque teenage superhackers will terrorize their systems.

    Incidentally, any friends of mine who do have Skype, but who do not have me listed as a contact should add me. Nobody will be surprised to learn that ‘sindark’ is my username.

  2. I am a little confused,

    the Apple Iphone has a browser, the internet, a microphone, and a speaker. So why can’t it be used as a skype phone? Does it not connect to wireless networks?

  3. Tristan,

    Apple has forbidden people to install third party software (like Skype) on the iPhone. While it will probably be hacked, the default version is intentionally crippled.

  4. Actually, Tristan has hit on the #1 reason why the iPhone is a let-down: it has all the hardware to do some cool things, but does nothing cool out of the box. It’s just eye candy.

  5. We all know that someone will hack the iPhone soon after release so that it will accept 3rd party apps, though I agree that it was foolish of Apple not to have it come out of the box that way.

  6. If it’s true that Iphone doesn’t really use OSX, won’t writing such hacks be uber difficult?

  7. Tristan,

    It remains to be seen whether it:

    a) Does run OSX, but cripples it for most users.

    b) Runs something a lot more basic that resembles OSX.

    If the second is true, or the crippling proves overly hard to remove, everyone expects the focus to be on coming up with clever web services (think Google Maps-like) that play to the iPhone’s strengths. Of course, those are likely to give you a hugely inflated bill for data transmission.

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