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Skype Intros Desktop VoIP Phones, Nokia Partnership

Las Vegas – Catering to its base of business users, Skype announced a new product category of desktop Internet phones at a press conference, here, Monday.

Both IPEVO and Topcom will offer models in March for a suggested $160. The IPEVO Solo.1 and the Webt@alker from Topcom offer built-in Skype software and can connect to broadband modems for Skype calling with the PC off.

Skype has been adding registered users at a pace of 250,000 a day, according to Don Albert, VP and GM, Skype North American. The company boasts 10 million U.S. users and 136 global users, 30 percent of which use the service for business, he added.

Nokia also jumped into the Skype eco-system with the introduction of its N800 Internet tablet. The Wi-Fi and Bluetooh-enabled device can make Skype calls over wireless networks. N800 owners can download Skype for the device in the second quarter of this year.

Skype has forged partnerships with 50 hardware suppliers and over 3,500 software developers to date, Albert said. In 2007 the company will work to integrate the software into a variety of applications, including online advertising.

In the coming year it will leverage its online store to offer service and hardware bundles and will incorporate promotional announcements into its program to alert consumers to new deals, said Eric Lagier, hardware and mobile device business development director.