Belkin Wi-Fi Phone for Skype
Skype is a great way to keep in touch when travelling, given the fact that some international calls are actually free (to other Skype users); other calls are a few cents per minute. But using Skype usually meant using your laptop and plugging in a headset or, at home, using an adapter permitting the connection of a landline phone. What if someone were to marry the convenience of a mobile phone with the cost advantages and Wi-Fi connectivity of Skype? The Belkin Wi-Fi Phone for Skype just does that.
This lightweight (weighs only four oz.) phone itself features an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and I was able to log into my Wi-Fi network and Skype account within minutes of taking the phone off the charger. All of my contacts from Skype showed up and I was able to start placing calls immediately. You can dial traditional phone numbers the same way you would on a mobile phone and the phone also supports Skype-In and Caller ID.
The Wi-Fi Phone for Skype supports WEP, WPA, and WPA2 with PSK security and will charge via a USB connection to your computer (no need to carry a separate charger around, although it includes a lightweight USB charger). Call quality will vary from crystal clear to not so great, which is the same as Skype on your computer.
Belkin includes a coupon for 30 free minutes and Boingo Mobile will provide you with a 30-day free trial, allowing unlimited Wi-Fi access to tens of thousands of hotspots (after the trial period it costs $7.95 per month for the service). $179.99 from www. belkin.com
–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.