A new cordless handset that works with Skype but doesn't require a computer, has just been released.
The DualPhone 3088's base station connects to both a broadband Internet connection for Skype calls and a traditional analog landline connection for calls over the usual PSTN network.
The maker, RTX Products, claims it is the first such handset that can connect with Skype without the need for a personal computer to manage the calls. The only requirement for use is that the Internet connection is always on. Connections that time-out after a period of no use are unsuitable, said RTX. That shouldn't be a problem for broadband users.
There have in fact been Skype phones that don't need a PC before, such as the Netgear SPH101. The Netgear phone is a single mode Skype-only phone, and uses Wi-Fi which gives it poor battery life and a complicated set-up. By contrast, the RTX phone uses the established cordless phone standard DECT.
The handset has a color display on which the current Skype status of contacts is displayed. Users have the option of making a Skype call or landline call to the party when their name is selected. It supports Skype PC calls, SkypeOut, SkypeIn and Voicemail. Full technical specifications can be found at dualphone.net.
The phone will be available in Europe through RTX retailers and from 1 December at the company's online store. It costs €159 (£108).
RTX already sells a Skype-compatible cordless phone that requires a PC and a model that doesn't, and works with voice-over-IP services that conform to the SIP standard but not Skype.