Asus is bringing out a 'mark 2' touchscreen version of its standalone Skype videophone device later in 2009, the Taiwanese manufacturer announced this week.

The Skype-certified AiGuru SV1T is the next-step forward from the company's first toe-dip into this new niche market.

The Asus AiGuru SV1T features Wi-Fi (or Ethernet) connectivity, a VGA webcam, microphone, speaker and – most notably – a 7-inch 800x480 pixel touchscreen.

"The touchscreen works in tandem with the standalone device's built-in webcam, speaker, microphone and Wi-Fi capabilities to let users make unlimited video calls for free to other Skype users without the need for a computer," reads Asus' release.

"This latest version expands and improves upon the first generation ASUS videophone announced last year."

Granmother-friendly

For many that already use Skype on their PC, Mac, smartphone or laptop, the idea of a standalone videophone costing the same (if not more) as a decent netbook might seem something of a false economy.

However, TechRadar can imagine the Asus AiGuru Skype videophone appealing to our parents and grandparents. Basically, anybody that is not familiar or fully comfortable with using Skype on a computer or smartphone.

Asus' latest also includes improved support for conference calls and "allows users to make calls to fixed and mobile lines at really cheap rates; users can also receive calls from any land or mobile phone line if they have an online Skype number."

Via Asus