The CIT200 cordless VoIP handset from Linksys is a USB DECT phone engineered for use with the Skype VoIP service. The new handset will be available in Australia shortly with an estimated street price of $217.

“We are very pleased to be announcing this product,” said Linksys ANZ regional manager Graeme Reardon. “We have been working on the relationship for some time and its nice to announce it to the world. This is the first of many innovative products.

“I’ve been told by Skype there are half a million active Skypers in Australia and this is growing exponentially. We think there is a fantastic opportunity to promote and market the use of Skype with this sort of device. The majority of the Skype users are in APAC,” he said.” “I was online last night and there were over four million active people on line at one time.”

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“This is going to be a fantastic retail product,” said Reardon. “It’s not really a small business play, there’s maybe some potential in the micro business sector but realistically it is a retail consumer product.”

Reardon said the exposure Skype has been getting since its much publicised acquisition by auction site eBay and the impact the service is having in the consumer market, that “this is the start of a new business for us in that retail and VoIP space.

He said there were no mass retailer deals to carry the Skype phone in place as yet, though the product will be available through the company’s regular distributors.

The DECT handset includes a charger and USB base station and will be bundled with a Skype starter pack. The handset lets callers take their Skype calls off the PC and into other rooms, though there are no details yet on range.

The handset can read and display callers’ Skype contact list on its built-in illuminated display, letting callers know which of their Skype contacts are online and ready to be called.  The handset also supports SkypeOut, SkypeIn and Skype Voicemail, low-cost premium services that lets callers make and receive calls to family, friends and colleagues using traditional landlines or cell phones, and send and receive messages up to 10 minutes long.

The handset also includes a number of convenient features for Skype users:

Supports call waiting
Mute button
3 available ring tones
Intercom support to between multiple handsets
Built-in speakerphone
Colour LCD panel
Up to 120 hour standby time and 10 hour talk time
Hold Button
Caller ID
Address Book that supports up 120 contacts
Ringer -Off/On switch
Navigation button for screen
Utilises voice encryption for high security
Headset jack for connecting a headset
Uses DECT wireless technology so won’t interfere with 2.4GHz phones or devices
Single base station supports up to four additional DECT based phones
Handset locater button on USB base station
Handset is light and comfortable to use (120 grams)

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