Skype just got so easy your great-grandmother could use it without having to know anything about a sound card or any other input/output doohickeys that are more convoluted than President Harding and his confounding Teapot Dome scandal! (Look it up, millennials...)
Actually, there is one doohickey, but once it's all hooked up it looks an awful lot like a regular old cordless phone--with VoIP hidden inside. (No need to tell great-grandma about that last part, it will only confuse her--apologies to all technologically astute great-grandmothers out there, BTW.) It's the Freetalk ConnectMe home phone adapter for Skype, which connects to any regular old home phone.
You'll need to connect your PC to set things up the first time, but after that, Skype says you'll just need to make sure your broadband connection and phone are hooked into the adapter. If you keep your landline, you'll want to hook that in too, because the adapter allows you to switch back and forth between Skype and a regular phone line.
"Our mission is to make Skype available everywhere so consumers can enjoy conversations whenever and wherever they are," Neil Stevens, Skype's vice president and general manager for product and marketing, said in a statement. "Now, using Skype at home is as simple as picking up a handset and dialing."
Of course, Skype notes that the home phone adapter is not a replacement for a landline and that emergency 911 calls are not available via Skype, but that doesn't change the fact that, uh, it's a nice replacement for a landline.
Also part of the announcement is a new Skype-enabled cordless phone from GE that includes all the functions mentioned above, with the added ability to be able to make free Skype-to-Skype calls directly from the handset. There are other Skype-enabled handsets out there on the market, but this is apparently the newest and perhaps the shiniest.
Skype's also offering a handful of bundle deals with calling credit for folks that buy either of the new products, with plenty of time to call up great-grammy and learn all about that Teapot Dome doohickey.
Check out the promo video from Skype below.