LAS VEGAS – Skype, which has popularized Web telephone calling, on Monday marked progress in extending its low-cost calling services beyond computers to new types of phones.
At the Consumer Electronics Show here, Skype, a unit of online auctioneer eBay Inc., said it was introducing 12 new phones and related phone accessories in conjunction with telecommunications equipment suppliers.
The models include a dual-mode phone from Netgear Inc., the SPH200D, which enables users to place and receive both traditional phone calls and Skype Internet calls from a single cordless handset. The device connects both to a standard telephone wall jack and a broadband Internet router.
Unlike many existing Skype-ready phones that need to be tethered to a personal computer, the new model requires only the phone and broadband cable connection.
“We are reaching out to groups that previously had not used Skype because they didn’t have access to a PC,” Eric Lagier, global head of business development, told a news conference.
“We are really increasing the amount of time, or the possibility, for people to use Skype to make Skype calls.
In addition, Skype said it was working with Nokia, IPevo, a Silicon Valley-based unit of major Taiwanese Internet service provider PChome Online, Philips Electronics NV of the Netherlands and Topcom NV, which is based in Belgium and Hong Kong.
Philips VOIP841 cordless phone also offers Skype calling without requiring a computer connection. The device connects to an Internet broadband connection or standard phone line.
ASUS’s AiGuru S2 connects to a computer through a USB cable connection and comes with both Apple Computer Inc. iTunes and Microsoft Corp. Windows Media Player for listening to music anywhere around a house with a wireless radio connection.
Other products include a speakerphone that connects to a computer using a USB cable from IPevo and a Philips USB handset aimed at travelers using laptop computers.
By expanding to offer a growing variety of phone models including cordless, computer-connected and dual-mode Wi-Fi/mobile phones, Skype is making it easier for consumers to spend more of their calling time using the company’s services.
Calls made to other Skype users are free, while calls placed to non-Skype users worldwide incur charges that are typically lower than standard telephone company calling plans. Skype counted 136 million registered users of its phone services worldwide at the end of September.
The shares of eBay dropped $1.08, or 3.5 percent, to close$29.70, while Netgear gained $1.13, or 4 percent, to $29.60. Both trade on Nasdaq. Nokia dropped 1.01 percent, or 20 cents, to $19.64 in New York Stock Exchange trading, echoing a similar decline in Helsinki market trading.