Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The bizarre and macabre world of Skype Phones

Okay, so I wasn't too kind to Skype's new Prime feature yesterday, however, I am a big fan of Skype overall. I have now replaced my 'landline replacement' phone service at home with Skype (I am still using an Ol' Skool POTS line for most calls), and I have found the quality to be pretty darn good. Recently, I have been coming across a wide swath of Skype Phones and devices, and they range from the normal to the quite eccentric. While Skype's own Gear Blog seems to provide good insight and reviews on the latest and greatest products for Skype, I thought I would take a specific look at some of the more 'portable' gadgets for Skype, since many of us Skype users travel with our laptops and use Skype to call home from whereever we are at the moment. Obviously, we all like to travel light, so here are some interesting, if not weird options:

1. The Sony USB Mouse Phone (above Right), if you normally lug a mouse with you on the road, this option is essentially a mouse the folds open into a phone. This is very stealthy looking device, and it very sexy and functional in the classic sony style, but it begs the one question: Let's say I'm on the Skype Call, how do I use my computer?

Next up is the Panasonic Skype Router phone. Panasonic followed the lead of others like D-Link and Linksys and created a travel router. These small form factor routers are designed for travelers to create a hotspot out of your hotel room's wired connection. This one also comes with a Skype Phone as well (however, it is unclear to me if this is a true wi-fi skype phone than can be used with any open hotspot, or if it will only work with this hotspot). Again, an interesting concept, complete with a leather travel case, but do you really want to shlep this around on business trips, when you can by the Belkin or Netgear phones for less?

Finally, the Kensington's PC Card phone rounds out this interesting trio. Essentially, this is a bluetooth Skype Handset. No LCD, nothing fancy, just your average bluetooth headset but in a handset form factor. But here is the kicker - it fits into a PC card slot and charges itself off of your computer's battery - I smell a winner.

If by chance you make skype gadgets, and you want me to review one, please feel free to contact me :)

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