IPdrum's Skype-to-cell product ships

IPdrum is now shipping a product that lets consumers set up a cell phone as a gateway to Skype.

A product that lets consumers use an extra cell phone as a gateway to Skype Technologies' VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) system is now available, vendor IPdrum AS announced.

The Norwegian company's IPdrum Mobile Skype Cable consists of software and a cable that connects a cell phone to the USB (Universal Serial Bus) and sound ports of a PC. That phone becomes a gateway to Skype, a peer-to-peer Internet application that allows free calls among Skype users and low-cost calls to conventional phones. Earlier this month, EBay agreed to acquire Skype, which has about 54 million members in 225 countries.

A user with two cell phones can use Skype while on the road by calling the gateway cell phone that is plugged into a Skype-equipped PC at home. Also, incoming calls from Skype can be forwarded from the gateway phone to the handset that the user carries, according to IPdrum. Many cellular subscribers could make these mobile-to-mobile calls free of cellular charges because of service plans that allow unlimited free calls among phones on the same service provider network.

The product is available now from http://www.ipdrum.com and through selected retail stores in Europe and Asia, with a retail price of around $90 plus tax, IPdrum representative Ted Iannuzzi. The software works only on Windows XP, but IPdrum is working on versions for other operating systems. Cables are available now for Nokia and Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB phones. Versions for Motorola, Samsung Electronics and Siemens phones are expected to ship within six months, Iannuzzi said.

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