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New Skype Gear: Speakerphone, PC-less Wi-Fi Phone

The eBay VoIP unit steps up its drive to spread the free service deeper into business markets.

Two appliances for Skype phoning – a speakerphone and a PC-less Wi-Fi phone – were announced Monday as the eBay VoIP unit stepped up its drive to spread the free service deeper into business markets.

The USB speakerphone carries a suggested retail price of $129 and is the first of a planned series of Skype-approved devices slated to be developed by Polycom and Skype. The hands-free Polycom Communicator is the size of a typical PDA and is available for additional PC functions like audio and music presentations.

Skype, which has estimated that 30 million of its 100 million subscribers are business customers, said the device was developed with Polycom by its Skype for Business unit.

Netgear's Skype Wi-Fi phone is available for ordering at $249.99. The wireless device, also developed jointly with Skype, enables Skype users to use the VoIP service wherever they have secured or open access to Wi-Fi networks. The SPH101 phone is pre-loaded with Skype software. The device is compatible with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi standards.

A small industry of Skype-compatible products is emerging and the Polycom and Netgear devices are among the first to be certified by Skype. The products are expected to be ready for delivery in two months.

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