For those who are smart and started using Skype (I’ve been using it for a long time), you have enjoyed a wonderful year of free long distance within the US and Canada. Well, the year end is approaching and the free calling promotion is going to end. But fear not, a new offer has been made available today.
If you order Skype Unlimited before January 31, 2007, you will get a year of unlimited calling to the US and Canada for only $14.95 (50% off the regular price). If you stack that with the annual charge of $36 for an entire year of SkypeIn, you’ve got a hell of a package price. Unlimited inbound and outbound calling with the US for a year for only $51. That’s an amazing price considering what most VoIP providers charge ($25/month and up). Plus, it works everywhere since nobody seems to know how to block it with their firewall and the packets slip by undetected.
You can also download the newly released version 3.0 from the Skype web site. The new version includes a bunch of new features including multiplayer gaming (why didn’t I ever finish that Sudoku support for Skype).
I’m thinking about getting a wireless (Bluetooth) headset for use with Skype. Since they now have free domestic calling and I picked up a SkypeIn number, I thought about giving a wireless headset a shot. Plus, I think it would be perfect for my wife in and around the kitchen. So, if you’ve found something that works well and has good range, high sound quality and decent battery life.
Until the end of the year, Skype is now allowing free SkypeOut calls in the US and Canada. Yes, completely free calls, no charges, no Spyware, fully encrypted (well, until you hit POTS) voice conversations.
So quit waiting and get Skype now.
Skype has released a new feature, SkypeCasts. These public conference channels support up to 100 people and have a specific duration. Not sure I like the current setup though. You actually call a SkypeOut number, but it doesn’t use any credit. Overall the quality is good, but there are quite a few features I don’t like. To see who is in the chat, you have to use the web page. And because it’s a web page, you can’t see who is talking. I think they need to work on it a bit yet.
Nonetheless, it came out with a new beta of Skype 2.5 — quite a few new features here as well. Including an easy dialer for international dialing without having to know the +1, +011, etc. Very nice addition.
You can find out about SkypeCasts and the new beta version at the Skype web site.
It seems that there is a lot of work, none of it productive, in the attempts to block Skype from networks. An entry on a zdnet blog talks about one attempt by a player in the network traffic shaping business and his lack of any progress in trying to lock down the sneaky protocol.
Okay, it’s getting close to real. They have pictures and an asking price of $250 for the new NetGear standalone Skype phone. This thing uses 802.11(b/g) and is a self-contained way onto the Skype network — no computer required. I’ll be watching the early reviews closely for news on what could be the first step onto a global no-cost communications infrastructure. Yeah, I’m down like that.
Read the source article at Engadget.
Cruising through the Motorola site to find out the latest on their new RAZR/DVR setup, I ran across this little tidbit. I was looking at this stereo headset a few weeks ago, but bailed on it due to concerns about sound quality. Well, the concerns are still there, but it looks like it might be a pretty sweet combo package.
I’d for sure like to use my built-in Bluetooth instead, but I don’t think my stack supports A2DP and the required control protocol. But if it works with iTunes and Skype at the same time, this could be a pretty sweet hook-up.
Motorola Talk and Tunes
Panasonic is releasing the KX-TG9000 cordless phone with built-in Skype support. This is a full-featured phone actually running Skype with no PC required. More and more devices like this are showing up and it is only a matter of time before Skype becomes much more commonly used by regular people. Honestly, if you make international calls, you are insane NOT to use it because it is so cheap and you can call regular land lines around the world. Calling a hotel to check reservations in Hong Kong was clear as a bell — a must when you only partially understand the language.
I can’t wait personally, I look forward to more and more Skype-enabled products.