Headset Free Skype – Optional When You Want It.

Have it Your way: at home, in the office or mobile

So Jajah wants us to abandon our headsets and make headset-free phone calls. But I can come up with several ways to make headset free phone calls with Skype or alternative mobile handset-based services:

  • With the Skype 3.2 client, Skype’s new voice engine does a very good job of echo cancellation; I often run Skype on my laptop using my Logitech webcam’s mic and my laptop seakers along with the Skype softphone client. Sound quality’s much better than some of the echo boxes I have to listen to at the other end! No headset required.
  • I can make a call using my evaluation Phillips 841 Dual Cordless phone (where "Dual" means Skype/SkypeOut or PSTN) with the option to (i) use the standard embedded speaker and hold it to my ear, (ii) put it on the speakerphone and listen anywhere in the room.or (iii) add a standard cordless phone earpiece or headset. Woops, the last option gets back into headsets — sorry for the slip-up.And, because it uses DECT cordless technology, I can actually take the call anywhere in the house. And for this type of call, I don’t need to even start near my laptop –only its base station needs to be near a cable/DSL router or connected Ethernet switch. Bottom line: Headset optional, calls taken anywhere in the house.
  • I also have an option to make VoIP calls on Truphone from any of the Nokia N80i or N95 equipped with WiFi Again there are three options for listening: embedded handset speaker, loudspeaker or Bluetooth earipiece (which gets close to a headset). Just as with calling over the GSM network, simply look up a number, select it, tell it you want to go over the Internet (as opposed to the GSM voice service) and you have established a call. Look Ma! No Callback! Headset optional but WiFi required — calls taken anywhere within 100m.

And over the past couple of weeks I have discovered ways.to make Skype calls away from any WiFi or wired Ethernet connection:

  • Mobivox allows one to use any wireless phone to make Skype calls with the proviso you call a local PoP number (as we used to do with dial-up Internet). Its servers then complete the call for you (as a Skype or SkypeOut call). You do have to pre-register names (but it does import Skype Contact info readily), dictate names and type of termination (Skype or SkypeOut) but it works pretty effectively. And those mobile phones will have headset options but also at least a speaker phone option.
  • IM+ Skype for Software allows me to call anyone on Skype or in my Blackberry address book at no/low cost from my Blackberry where I have the Bluetooth headset, speakerphone or embedded speaker/mic options. As a bonus I can text message and detect presence with this Skype client on the Blackbery. Work that into your Jajah phone call.
  • And I am learning about Talk Plus which can provide a low cost underlying voice connection infrastructure in place to complement simply the IM component of Skype on a, say, Nokia N95.

So there are plenty of options but here’s the clincher: When I moved to Los Angeles with Quarterdeck several years ago one of the first practices I adopted was to use a headset for handling phone calls. Two hands free for working on my PC or doodling; And being cordless I could wander around the office. I want headset options with all my phones.

And finally, what is one of the other principle benefits of headsets? Handsfree combined with Privacy, of course! I’m not always ready to let those around me listen to the other half of the conversation (and, showing some respect for those around me, they often don’t want to hear it).

And what happened to the elements of IM – presence and text messaging? Nowhere to be found with Jajah. In some ways, Jajah appears to be the mobile version of a legacy phone service replacement business. And we know how competitive these services have become along with low margins. Over the past two weeks, having the mobile IM benefits of IM+ for Skype Software has been a real benefit when away from my laptop — in fact, more of a benefit sometimes than having mobile voice.

Before you decide you want to throw away your headset, make sure you know what other features you are throwing away with the bath water. I want my headset — as an option!

Tags: Skype, Skype headset, Jajah, Philips 841, Truphone, Blackberry, IM+ for Skype Software, Mobivox, Talk Plus

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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.
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