Netgear is producing a Wi-Fi phone for Skype, as well as a family of related products.
Skype users will be able to make calls anywhere they can get a wireless Net connection, and Netgear is also producing a router that optimises Skype use in a new agreement signed by the two companies.
Phone manufacturers are lining up to supply hardware for the fast-growing VoIP services and applications. Skype is a peer-to-peer Internet telephony application that typically uses client software loaded on a PC. Talking with other Skype users worldwide is free, and calls to non-Skype users are available for a fee through the SkypeOut service.
Netgear's phone will come with the Skype software pre-loaded so all users need to start making calls is a Skype username and password. The user's list of Skype contacts will come up automatically. Anywhere the user can get on the Internet via Wi-Fi, including public hotspots, the user will be able to make calls.
More information about the Netgear Skype phone, including pricing and availability dates, will be available later in the next two months.