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Philips Beefs Up Communications Line

New York — Philips provided more details on its Skype VoIP phone and introduced a new product for use on Microsoft’s Live Messenger PC calling service at its line show, held here.

The company also displayed three DECT-based cordless phones (announced at International CES) and new Web cameras designed for video instant messaging.

Both of Philips’ VoIP models will be combination VoIP/PSTN cordless phones that run on the 1.9GHz or DECT frequency.

The Skype VOIP321 will be available first, this July at CompUSA and online outlets, followed by the Windows Live Messenger (LM) VOIP433 in September.

The VOIP321 can display Skype contacts on an LCD screen and features different polyphonic ring tones to differentiate incoming landline and incoming Skype calls. Philips will sell the model with one handset and base station for a suggested $99 and with two handsets for a suggested $169. While the system can accept up to four handsets, Philips said it would not sell accessory handsets at the time of launch.

The VOIP433 dual phone offers the same functionality for Window’s Live Messenger service. Unlike the Skype phone, however, the VOIP433 will not need additional VoIP software on the PC but is completely plug-and-play, Philips said.

Pricing has not been determined, though a Philips spokesperson indicated it would sell for around $129 with a single handset/base unit.

For PC video phone calling, the company introduced three Web cameras shipping this month. All three include the company’s VLounge software for capturing, editing, archiving and printing digital images and video clips. The cameras will offer an integrated QuickLaunch button for starting the VLoung software.

The top-of-the-line SPC900NC ($99) features Philips’ Pixel Plus and Digital Natural Motion technologies, face tracking, digital pan/zoom and 1.3-megapixel resolution. It records VGA video at 90 fps for video instant messaging.

The SPC700NC and SPC600NC feature VGA/30 fps video messaging and SVGA still-photo capture. The SPC700NC ($79.99) ships with a headset while the SPC600NC ($59.99) includes a free set of interactive PC and a USB docking station for third-party USB devices.

Philips also courted the traditional landline market at its line show with three DECT cordless phones, all under $100. All the models feature 60 duplex channels and dynamic channel allocation. Two models, DECT221 and DECT225, are expandable for up to four additional handsets per base station.

According to Philips, DECT or 1.9GHz technology can deliver longer talk times than 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz models, with none of the wireless networking interference issues. The frequency was approved for use in the United States by the FCC last year.