Wi-Fi phones arrive, but still expensive

The trickle of Wi-Fi phones is becoming a flood, with two new products coming from Panasonic and Linksys, but they still look expensive.

Panasonic has launched a phone designed for Skype, hard on the heels of Wi-Fi Skype phones announced by Netgear and Philips last week.

The phone, which works with Skype's voicemail and call forwarding, will work at public hotspots as well as home and office Wi-Fi, and is the first in a series of VOIP promised by Panasonic.

Panasonic has also announced a deal to make phones for Vonage as an update on Vonage's current products from UTStarcom (read review). As with existing phones, both will only work at public hotspots if they don't require browser authentication -- or have a deal with the VOIP provider.

Meanwhile, Cisco's consumer brand Linksys has gone for a more general option, bringing a phone to Europe that operates on the open SIP 2 protocol instead of Skype's proprietary system. The WIP330, available in the U.S. earlier this year, will now be sold over here, and were shown at the IFA Consumer Electronics show in Berlin.

The WIP330 works with 802.11b and 802.11g with WEP and WPA, and uses the IP Type of Service field to get priority for voice over data on a WLAN.

With Wi-Fi VOIP handsets now looking quite practical compared with conventional cell phones and cordless devices, the biggest drawbacks are coverage and price. A Wi-Fi phone is a mobile device that can only be used at isolated hotspots, and the WIP330 costs about Euro 400 (US$514), so it would take a long time to cover its costs from any savings over wired and even mobile phones.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Judge

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?