As my , you can't open a magazine or a browser these days without seeing an ad for a new device that integrates with Skype's voice over Internet Protocol service. And while one Skype-related gadget can tend to blend into the next after awhile, the latest entrant to the product parade may bode well for the future of Skype and untapped segments of the enterprise market.
Polycom, a leading maker of conference phones, has gone Skype with its Monday announcement that it's teaming with the VoIP provider to offer "integrated, high-quality communications solutions" for businesses that use Skype. The first product out of the alliance is Polycom Communicator, a USB speakerphone that enables hands-free voice and video conversations. The product is being touted for its business-quality, high-fidelity wideband voice communications for individuals or small groups. While Skype has traditionally been thought of as a consumer application, the company estimates that business customers make up 30 percent of its more than 100 million registered users.
In addition to the Skype phone capabilities, the Polycom Communicator, which will cost around $129, can also be used as a high-fidelity speaker (up to 22KHz) for other PC applications, including audio presentations, music and games. It also has a built-in stereo headset port for private conversations.