29/06/2006

Skype Hardware Jamboree

Skype today held a press day where they showed off the latest hardware that was compatible with the Skype software.

Some companies there were unexpected - like Motorola who were showing their latest headphones which are Bluetooth and work with music players and Skype alike. They had a "box" of a media device (no actual device on show) which is Bluetooth bidirectional system which plugs into the HiFi (with real cables) but Bluetooth to PC/iPod/Headphones and does magic between everything. They also had some Oakley sunglasses with Motorola Bluetooth inside which were reasonably light.

Sennheiser has some nice headphones too.

Sandisk had an interesting system, a USB memory dongle that come pre-installed with various apps (including Skype). If you try and delete the apps it doesn't work as they reside in protected memory, though they can be upgraded. You plug the dongle into your PC and it copies various configurations in to itself, then when you plug it into a laptop, there they are - all the same configs. It even works with Outlook so your contacts/Emails/notes/etc go into the dongle, which will then configure Outlook on the laptop (if it's installed). However if Outlook isn't on the laptop it pretends to be Outlook and everything is still there for you, any new calendar entries or mail/etc are sync'ed back to Outlook when the dongle's plugged back into the PC.

Creative had some new web cams, D-Link a Skype ATA (analogue telephone adapater) which means you don't need a PC to run Skype and turns into into a Vonage like service where you just connect the box to the LAN and a normal phone into the box.

Once again (this seems to be a recurring theme at techie exhibitions, launches, anything that needs bandwidth) connectivity wasn't good, so most things had to be demonstrated locally - 1Mb/s ADSL just isn't sensible for that many people.

One things for certain, Skype will be everywhere and it's getting easier to use. Now they need to make some money.
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