I wrote several months ago about a device called MagicJack. It’s a VoIP adaptor for those looking to use their own home phones as a VoIP phone. I got a lot of emails from people stating that they were looking for a more portable and mobile solution. One they could use with a laptop from their car, in the field with a wireless card, from a convention floor or from a hotel room. And it had to be small, portable and low cost. I think I found a perfect solution for you.
Philips makes a USB Phone for Skype, the VOIP0801 B/37. The cost is $30.00. It comes fully ready to use within 2 or 3 minutes after unpacking. No batteries or complicated set up required. Just a free USB port, an Internet connection and a Skype account are all that is needed to get your started.
Insert the CD ROM that loads the phone and Skype software onto your PC. Then plug the USB cable from the phone into the PC. They wizard runs to configure the connection, the connection LCD lights green, and your ready to go.
If you have a Skype account, then just pick up the phone and dial. You have remote control over Skype and your Skype address book (pulled directly from Outlook) from the phone directly. Select a contact or dial right from the phone or from Skype. The sound quality is excellent. No one I called knew that I was not on my land line.
Skype offers a calling plan for less than $3 per month or $23 for 1 yr of prepaid service. This is for unlimited Skype calling to land lines or cell phones anywhere in the US and Canada. Other low cost plans to South America, Asia and Europe are available as well. Also, dedicated numbers and voicemail are a available for a small additional charge
The phone itself only weighs a few ounces. The USB cable completely wraps around the phone and then slips neatly into a carrying case included with the phone. A desk holder comes with the phone as well. There are other versions with color LCD screens and other features, but this version meets the perfect cost vs use ratio I am always seeking with a device that will not be used everyday but has it’s place in my business travel toolbox.
The phone works with Windows 2000, XP and Vista. No support for Mac users at this time.
The phone is available from the online Skype store as well as many other VoIP phone online retailers.