VoIP Without the Computer A new generation of Wi-Fi phones unhooks VoIP calls from a PC.
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Maybe, as vendors claim, VoIP is just another internet application like web browsing or search. But who wants to drag a computer around to make calls? After 125 years of telephone handsets, we prefer something more portable than a portable.
Belkin's Wi-Fi Phone for Skype fills the bill. This wireless--as opposed to cordless--phone puts all Skype's VoIP services and call management features into a candy bar-style handset. The $190 (street) F1PP000GN-SK is one of several new wireless Skype phones that let you gab up to 300 feet away from your network access point and make free calls at Wi-Fi hot spots sans laptop.
Skype, of course, is the IM/VoIP service that lets you place unlimited free IP calls to about 120 million buddies worldwide. Add the SkypeOut service, and calls to any cell or landline number in the U.S. and Canada are also free. Rent a Skype landline number with voice mail for about $39 a year, and your Skype-less contacts can ring your Belkin phone. Until providers work out cell-like "roaming" agreements, though, buddies on other IM services can only be reached over PSTN.