Gadget Merges Telecommuting with Listening to Tunes

Skype and Motorola serve up a headset that's a phone and music player, geared toward consumers and stay-at-home workers.

Nothing gives away an at-home worker more than dialing them up on the phone, and hearing their music cranking on the stereo in the background.

But now comes an answer from Skype Limited, the Internet telephony division of San Jose, Calif.-based eBay and gadgets maker Motorola.

On April 4, the partners introduced the Talk&Tune Wireless Internet kit, which consists of a headset, and an adapter that plugs into computers.

The adapter wirelessly streams music stored on the PC to the headset, which also doubles as a phone for Skype calls.

By tapping on a button on the headset, someone can accept an incoming Skype call and simultaneously pause the music.

While largely aimed at consumers, a Skype representative said the kit is also sure to resonate with SMBs (small to midsize businesses) that employ lots of workers that either travel or work at home.

/zimages/6/28571.gifSkype has been wooing enterprises more seriously of late. To read more, click here.

In a way, any Skype products success depends on appeasing small enterprises, and stay-at-home workers.

Thats because nearly a third of Skype consumers are employed at small businesses, and use the feature for work purposes.

The kits price and availability were not disclosed.

A Skype spokesperson said the two companies hope to begin selling it sometime before the end of June.

/zimages/6/28571.gifSkype has more than competitive concerns. Its also facing racketeering charges. To read more, click here.

Based in Luxembourg, Skype is perhaps the best known of the new breed of phone companies to offer VOIP (voice over IP), which is a way to make phone calls using an Internet connection rather than a traditional home or cell phone.

VOIPs attraction is how cheap calls are. Many VOIP operators piggyback a basic free service with premium features to call cell or landline phones at per-minute rates.

The prices, sometimes half what traditional phone operators charge, are due to the efficiencies of using the Internet over analog telephone technology developed a century ago.

/zimages/6/28571.gif Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.