Telephone communication just got easier --- and cheaper --- with the Actiontec Internet Phone Wizard, a small hardware device from Actiontec Electronics that enables consumers to make and receive free or low-cost Internet phone calls from a regular phone using Skype Technologies' Internet calling service. It is the first solution that allows the same phone to be used for both regular and Internet calls, avoiding the complications of needing separate handsets for each.
With the Skype-enabled Internet Phone Wizard, there is no need to pay monthly subscription fees to a commercial Internet calling service for the privilege of making Internet calls over a standard phone. Nor is there a need to be tethered to your PC and hooked up to a headset to take advantage of Skype's service. You can use your regular corded or cordless phone to call any Skype user for free and everyone else at low SkypeOut rates.
As a bonus, you get a second phone line absolutely free. If a family member is on a landline call in one room, you can pick up your Skype-connected phone in another, tap a few buttons, and make an Internet call on the spot.
Just plug the Internet Phone Wizard into your PC and phone, connect to Skype via the Internet, pick up your phone, and dial anyone on your Skype "Speed-Dial" list. The Wizard will automatically dial the number using the free Skype service, essentially moving the Skype call from the PC to the phone for a more natural interaction. If you receive a regular call while you're on the Skype conversation, press the # key twice to put the first call on hold and pick up the second.
If you're calling friends, relatives or colleagues who don't have access to the Internet to use their free Skype service or haven't yet hopped on the Skype bandwagon, you can use the Internet Phone Wizard to make a low-cost SkypeOut call from your regular phone to any phone anywhere in the world. You still save money because SkypeOut charges at local rates, even if you're calling overseas.
Calls made with the Internet Phone Wizard are as clear as regular connections, thanks to the latest echo-cancellation technology. Speed dialing is integrated for fast calling. No network configuration, change in firewall or router settings, or external power supply is required. Power is provided by the USB port of the user's PC.
"Using the Internet to make phone calls clearly saves money, but until now the fact that you couldn't use the same phone for both landline and online calls was a major drawback," said Gunjan Bhow, Actiontec's Vice President of Marketing. "The Internet Phone Wizard solves that problem for the first time, enabling consumers to take advantage of free Internet calling services like Skype while not losing any of the convenience or benefits provided by their regular phone."
The Actiontec Internet Phone Wizard will be available at www.actiontec.com in January for $69.99.