Skype WiFi phones – WTF?

Phase 1 of my Skype Challenge is almost complete – I handed back the i-mate SPL I was borrowing so I’m now without a Windows Mobile device (I still have my SIM card in an old Esicsson phone until I get around to sorting out my voicemail etc).

I must admit I’ve been having some issues selecting the right tool for the job:

  • Skype WiFi Phones – These come with Skype preinstalled and are unnecessarily expensive.  For the price of one of these you could get a standard Windows Mobile Pocket PC and put the skype client on it – much more functionality for minimal cost difference.  The other issue is that most of them don’t support browser based authentication for wireless access.  This is significant as most non-free wireless networks (and even some of the free ones) require you to login via the browser. This is a classic WTF where the manufacturers (Linksys, Belkin, Netgear etc) clearly haven’t thought about their target market!
  • Smartphone – Too expensive as I don’t need phone connectivity.  Also a lot of them don’t have wireless which doesn’t make them a very good Skype device!
  • Pocket PC – This is where I’m leaning as it has the rich user experience of a typical Windows Mobile device, including touch screen, has wireless connection and is not too expensive. 
  • UMPC – Now you might be asking why this fits in here as it isn’t particularly convenient as a phone.  But when you add in a bluetooth headset it all of a sudden becomes the ultime communications tool.  Not only do you have a skype phone with you all the time, you also have all the applications and functionality that you have come to expect with a regular desktop/laptop computer.  Perhaps I should be talking with the newest edition to the GottaBeMobile Team, Hugo Ortega

For the moment I think I’ll go back to looking for my old Dell X30 Pocket PC device that I can use until my K-Jam returns.

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