A product that lets consumers use an extra cell phone as a gateway to Skype Technologies's VoIP system has been launched.
Norwegian-based IPdrum's Mobile Skype Cable consists of software and a cable that connects a cell phone to the USB and sound ports of a PC. That phone becomes a gateway to Skype. Earlier this month, eBay agreed to acquire Skype, which has about 54 million members in 225 countries.
A user with two cell phones can use Skype while on the road by calling the gateway cell phone that is plugged into a Skype-equipped PC at home. Also, incoming calls from Skype can be forwarded from the gateway phone to the handset that the user carries, according to IPdrum. Many cellular subscribers could make these mobile-to-mobile calls free of cellular charges because of service plans that allow unlimited free calls among phones on the same service provider network.
The product is available now IPdrum and through selected retail stores in Europe and Asia, with a retail price of US$69.95i. The software works only on Windows XP, but IPdrum is working on versions for other operating systems. Cables are available now for Nokia and Sony Ericsson phones. Versions for Motorola, Samsung Electronics and Siemens phones are expected to ship within six months.