OK, when Linksys and Netgear make Internet phones, that's one thing. But when Philips gets into the business, things have gone mainstream. The company introduced a slew of new phones today that offer the choice of calling via the Internet or POTS lines. Most are cordless DECT models—which deliver clean reception by using the 1.9-GHz range instead of the 2.4-GHz band that's swamped with competing signals from Wi-Fi, microwave ovens, and old-fashioned cordless phones.
The flagship is the VOIP841 (above). It stores 500 address entries and provides polyphonic tones that let you choose a different sound for Skype or POTS calls. Philips says battery lasts for 12 hours of talk time. Available now for $199.
The VOIP443 toggles between landline and MSN Messenger services. It stores 100 contacts, and provides 10 ringtones and 10 hours of talk time. It's now selling for $129.
For laptop luggers with a ludite tendency, Philips has this USB headset that bears comforting resemblance to a good-old phone. (The cord spools around the phone for quick storage.) Philips flaks couldn't tell us a name, price, or availability date. But it doesn't look like it would be too pricey.