Move over, Vonage: here's why a Netgear VoIP phone makes sense

I've been going to trade shows for more years than the number of cigarettes in a pack (no, I don't smoke). One thing I've learned...

I've been going to trade shows for more years than the number of cigarettes in a pack (no, I don't smoke). One thing I've learned... you find out more from corridor and aisle talk, and from booth personnel who haven't yet learned that loose lips sink ships - than from press releases.

While that's as specific as I can get in terms of attribution, I have reason to feel certain that Vonage's new VoIP phone, announced yesterday, isn't going to hit the market without some substantial near-term competition from other major players.

Who? Well, let's just say you're Netgear.You're mostly known for your Wireless LAN Access Points, Gateways, Firewall VPN Routers, Adapters and Switches.

With your expertise in both wireless and wired connectivity, you, Netgear, have decided to jump into the VoIP market. Your first tip-toe into these waters, announced at theConsumer Electronics Show,is a wireless router compatible with AT&T's CallVantage Service.

From there, it's not a huge crevasse of expertise leap for a hardware-centric, communications-gear powerhouse such Netgear to diversify into, umm, say, IP phones. Netgear has enterprise and consumer marketing expertise. They also understand that to break beyond the early adopters, you have to discount.

This combination of skill sets and corporate culture givesNetgear the chops to get into the IP phone world.

It will happen. You read it here first.

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