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Sure it's badly named, but the EV5203-C could be fantastic news for VoIP fans. This is a Linux VoIP DECT phone released by Thomson recently at the IFA show in Berlin, and it does not require a computer to operate; simply plug this thing into a DSL or cable line via ethernet, and you're good to go (That's right—there's no need for Skype). It can handle two VoIP calls, has two ethernet ports, and up to five phones can be connected, each with a separate VoIP number. Another great thing is that there's a PSTN connection on the base, which allows for 411/911 calls.

The management of the handset is run by the service providers, and the Linux OS means they'll be able to customize the handset to offer addressbook synchronization, SMS, MMS, mail notification, etc. And if you think it's odd that the service provider will be handling this, it's because Thomson will be selling this directly to service providers initially, and not to the consumers. This is made doubly weird since, as mentioned, this thing runs on Linux — surely someone out there will be savvy enough to hack into the phone and figure out the phone's additional tricks (Perhaps even connect it to Skype and figure out how to avoid all the service provider fees). While the phone is set to be released worldwide in November 2005, it remains to be seen how service providers will handle this.

EV5203-C: Thomson's Linux VoIP DECT phone: IFA [Digital-lifestyles.info]