updated 10:35 am EDT, Thu August 31, 2006
USR9630 Skype Phone
One potential danger of a Bluetooth Skype phone is interference: Bluetooth operates on the same 2.4GHz frequency as WiFi and some conventional cordless phones, which could result in choppy audio. USRobotics is aware of this in releasing its new USR9630 Skype phone. The new handset's choice of DECT 6.0 instead of Bluetooth prevents most wireless signals from affecting call quality, according to the company. Phone range is also substantially better than Bluetooth: users can roam as far as 150 feet away from the main transmitter while indoors. USR9630 callers are also free to use the phone for conventional phone lines, as the base unit plugs into an analog phone line as well as the computer's USB port for Internet-based Skype calls. USRobotics' system depends upon a Windows 2000/XP PC and will reach the market in September for a price of $120; additional handsets (up to three more) will sell for $70 each starting in October.