The Actiontec VoSky box might not be produced by Skype, but it's the type of kit the VoIP giant needs to be producing to shed its software shackles.
Not everybody wants to be at their PC to make Internet calls, yet although this box does enable you to use your telephone, you'll still need your PC turned on. Broadband and a Skype account are prerequisites.
This box connects to your phone line between your broadband splitter and your normal phone, and then to your PC via USB. No power source is required and you can make standard phone calls on your landline as normal.
It's easy to use the handset with Skype calls - install the software and log onto Skype. Assign short dial numbers to your Skype contacts, connect to the box, key in the short-dial number and you'll be connected. Alternatively, if you have a SkypeOut subscription enabling you to make normal phone calls over Skype then you can just key in a phone number.
If you're a Skype convert but hate being tied to your PC, it's perfect - especially with a cordless phone - but it isn't as slick a solution as the DUALphone (£62 from www. expansys.com ). This digital cordless phone enables you to look up your Skype contacts on the phone and make phone calls.
Dial the box
You're also able to 'dial-in' to the Call Center from another phone so you can make Skype calls wherever you are. You achieve this by specifying the number of rings before the box chips in, plus a three-digit password. If you try and Skype someone while they're offline, you'll receive notification when back online, but your PC still needs to be on for this to happen.
VoSky produces a slightly cheaper unit called the Internet Phone Wizard (£36) that offers most of the functionality of the Call Center without the ability to dial-in from any phone. However, if you use your Skype account often then you'll find the ability to dial-in from other phones useful. Dan Grabham