The first Skype phone and the new AT&T Pantech Duo

Skype phone

The new Skype phone, using Voice Over IP (VOIP), is due to be released this week in Britain, and is scheduled to be released across Europe and Asia through the rest of this year. Reports show that the new phone will retail for £49.99 and includes 3G internet capability, a media player and a 2 megapixel camera to boot.

Although VOIP has become quite popular, some doubt the success of the Skype phone due to the fact that the service has limitations that require an aggressive marketing plan to ensure widespread use. Emeka Obiodu, an analyst with Global Insight states, "As the free service only works between customers using similarly-branded Skype phones, failure to win a critical mass 'seed' customer base will confine the service to the dustbin of history.”

The primary attraction of VOIP is the low prices in comparison to conventional wireless plans as calls between VOIP customers are free. It will be interesting to watch the progress of the phone and service over the next few months. There is no mention of a proposed U.S. release plan.

Pantech Duo

AT&T announced today the release of the Pantech Duo, which is now available in the U.S. The phone will be offered exclusively by AT&T. The Pantech Duo offers the user a full QWERTY keyboard, and as a unique bonus, a standard numeric keypad.

The Duo is a 3G device and features the Windows Mobile 6 operating system. Measuring in at 4.02 inches long, 1.97 inches wide and .83 inches thick, the Duo is a pretty sleek device considering it boasts two separate keyboards and a 240 X 320 screen. However, despite the trend toward better cameras on today’s smartphones, the duo features a 1.3 megapixel camera only. The Duo does offer the user Bluetooth (with A2DP capability!), but lacks WiFi and its memory is expandable using microSD cards.

Despite some missing features I would prefer on the phone, I really like the dual keypad design. Slide out QWERTY keyboards are excellent for text messages and email, but sometimes a good “old fashioned” numeric keypad is just plain convenient. I’ll be interested to see if other devices follow suit.

I am not terribly familiar with that network. For more technical matters, I usually recommend speaking to Werner by posting in our help forum.

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