I got to play with the NETGEAR (not shouting, that's the way they spell their name) Skype WiFi phone at the Von show in Boston last week.
As you can see on this photo from Engadget, cool, yes, but I like to think I am mature enough a consumer to be able to separate the "cool" from the "practical."
Practical, as in, do I really need this?
Release price as quoted on the Skype site is $299.99.
I have this saying: "El Paso ain't just a city in Texas."
In other words, I'll pass.
I can handle the sticker price, but that's not the issue.
If I want mobile Skype, I can easily do it over my EV-DO enabled laptop. I already have Skype loaded, and traveling with a headset isn't a problem.
So what about WiFi? I pay $59.99 a month for EV-DO. While EV-DO isn't as fast as WiFi, I am not ordinarily in one place when I am out and about. I'm moving around. Plus, EV-DO's monthly price is about the same as six WiFi sessions a month. Why bother?
And there's this device I have in my pocket called a BlackBerry. It has cell. I'm four months into a two year contract. And since I rarely hit my alloted minutes, why should I pay extra minutes for SkypeOut?
Yea, yea, I know that Skype to Skype calls are free, but I don't seem to do all that many of those. Nowhere near enough that the volume of free calls would result in savings that would cover the upfront cost of this NETGEAR phone.
I suppose if I lived at Starbucks six hours a day, a Skype WiFi phone would make sense. But for me, as well as many others who share my work patterns, $299.99 just doesn't git it from the ROI point of view.
Does the ROI work for you?