Tuesday, January 17, 2006

VoIP Phone for Windows Live Messenger

Microsoft has teamed up with Royal Philips Electronics and Uniden to create cordless handsets that work both as conventional POTS (plain old telephone service) and VoIP devices using the Microsoft's soon-to-be-released Windows Live Messenger service, the successor to MSN Messenger.

The docking cradles of the two devices -- the Uniden WIN1200 (pictured above) and the Phillips VOIP433 -- provide both a land line phone connection and a USB 2.0 port to a PC. Users have three options for placing calls:

  • MCI Web Calling service for Windows Live Messenger users
  • Free PC-to-PC calling through Windows Live Messenger
  • Traditional landline phone service

As a hardware extension to the Windows Live Messenger service, these devices display the Messenger contact list and let a user know when a contact is connected to the network and capable of receiving communication through the Messenger interface, according to Microsoft. Moving this "presence technology" to a cordless phone frees users from the need to remain attached to a PC to stay in communication.

The Phillips VOIP433 operates in the 2.4 GHz band using DECT (Digitally Enhanced Cordless Telephone) technology, which is said to eliminate interference with other wireless networking technologies using the same frequency band.

DECT originated in Europe, but is now being adopted increasingly worldwide for use in cordless telephones, wireless offices, and even wireless telephone lines to the home. DECT was recently approved by the FCC for use in the US.The VOIP433 will debut in Europe, Asia Pacific, and parts of Latin America in the spring of this year, according to Phillips.