The latest Skype VoIP phone from Panasonic might cost a hefty ¥29,800 (£144), but it has a trick up its sleeve in the form of software that enables it to connect to the FON Wi-Fi sharing network for free calls.
The KX-WP800 goes on sale in Japan at the end of this month. It's a pretty standard Skype handset apart from that FON application onboard and a dedicated mini Wi-Fi router that creates an open FON hotspot at home.
Free Wi-Fi calls
The 802.11b/g router is designed to be taken on the road by altruistic souls who wish to spread the FON gospel from hotels and the like. The Spanish organisation behind FON clearly has Japan in its sights, as there are now over 30,000 open Wi-Fi connections on its network there.
As for the handset, it's pre-programmed to automatically log onto any FON spot it comes across, but can - of course - also use a plain vanilla connection instead.
Battery life is decent too - 55 hours of standby and 4.5 of talk time, while the 100g weight makes it just about viable to take this thing out alongside a regular mobile phone.