Cordless (Skype + Regular Phone) = DU@Lphone
Over the past week we have been testing a terrific new product just released in the US by RTX America called the DU@Lphone. This handy little device combines 3 technologies into a small well designed package -- first it is a cordless phone (the base charges as well as connects to all devices as you'd expect) but in addition to a cordless phone for your regular phone line, the DU@LPhone also connects to your PC and provides access to Skype! From the website:
Move up to 300m away from your PC and make Skype™ and SkypeOut calls. See who’s online with one push of a button on the handset. It’s a cordless Skype™ phone and ordinary landline phone in one.I have the phone attached to my PC here at the office so I haven't been able to test the ordinary landline capability (we have a digital phone system via CallTower). But I am happy to say that the Skype aspect of the phone works great.
The display on the handset shows when your contacts come online or go offline. The handset has two different call buttons, one labelled "PC" but both with a green phone icon. Pushing the "PC" call button allows you to scroll through a list of your Skype contacts and select one to call. The sound quality is good and I have been able to roam throughout our office here talking on the phone. I haven't tested the full 300 meters range claimed in the ad copy though.
According to Stephen M. Gill, Vice President of Sales for RTX America, this product is available in Europe under the Olympia brand but that they decided to market it in the US under the DU@LPhone name. The European store is at dualphone.net. Engadget had a review back in November of last year. According to some of the comments from users in Europe the handset will also work with SkypeOut. We haven't tested that aspect as we don't use SkypeOut here at IP Inferno. Also important to the typical target customer for such a device -- the cordless phone now shipping from RTX in North America uses U.S. DECT -- so it will not interfere with 2.4 ghz WiFi networks.
At $139.99 this may seem like a lot to pay for a cordless phone, but if you are finding, as we are, that Skype is an increasingly important part of your communications - freeing yourself from your desk is definitely worth the investment. It is also reasonable to expect prices to come down as the phone gets into the distribution channel. RTX has a deal with Brightpoint to distribute in the US and expects the product to be in "big box retail" stores -- so expect a street price somewhat lower than the suggested retail price available today from the DU@Lphone website.