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Belkin Takes Skype On The Road

Compton, Calif. — Belkin announced a Wi-Fi handset on Thursday for making mobile calls over Skype’s VoIP service.

The Belkin Wi-Fi Phone will ship in August for a suggested $189.99 and can connect to wireless home networks and free public hotspots.

The handset incorporates several Skype calling features, features a color screen and WPA, WPA2 encryption with PSK support.

The Belkin phone is the second Wi-Fi handset created specifically for Skype. Netgear began shipping its Skype Wi-Fi phone this summer.

According to a recent report from research firm Infonetics, demand for VoIP-enabled Wi-Fi handsets increased 116 percent from 2004 to 2005 to constitute a $125 million market worldwide. Wi-Fi phone revenue will double or triple every year through 2009 when the worldwide market will hit $3.7 billion, the firm predicted.

The majority (58 percent) of Wi-Fi phone revenue came from single-mode Wi-Fi VoIP handsets in 2005, while 42 percent came from dual-mode handsets that mix cellular telephony and VoIP. By 2009, Infonetics predicted that 91 percent of the market’s revenue will be generated from dual-mode handsets.