With my fiancee on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, I’ve been using Skype a lot more to keep in touch. Calls to the US using SkypeOut are amazingly cheap at only 1.2p/minute (unfortunately, my fiancee is still on dial-up, so we can’t really take advantage of free skype-to-skype calls).
After using a headset for a few days, I decided to invest in a Skype phone, and purchased the CyberphoneK which seems to be a popular handset. There are also cordless phones, but these are significantly more expensive costing more than double the price of the standard handset.
The device was relatively easy to set up – plug into the USB port, install the skype integration software, and voila! I was up and running in under 10 minutes.
Although the device generally works well, I have had some weird issues with people on the end being unable to hear me, me being unable to hear them, etc. These generally seem to be configuration issues, and can probably be resolved by some fiddling around with the windows audio settings.
However, I’d like to see the Skype phone (or other VoIP phone) idea taken further, and made even more user friendly. It must be possible to create a phone with the VoIP software built in. The device could have an ethernet connector that can be connected straight to a network (or maybe even make it wireless?), configured via a web interface (similar to configuring a wireless router) and used to make calls without needing a PC or Windows. That’s when I can see my parents taking advantage of this great technology!
Overall though, I am impressed. My fiancee is very happy too 😉