updated 03:45 pm EDT, Thu September 18, 2008
ASUS intros Skype vidphone
ASUS and Skype have collaborated to bring the AiGuru SV1 videophone to market, announcing its release on Thursday. The ASUS AiGuru SV1 has a 7-inch, 800x480 LCD and a built-in 640x480 webcam that allow users to make free video calls to other users of the Skype VoIP phone service without relying on a computer; the device is the first of its kind, the firms claim. Skype reveals more than a quarter of all Skype-to-Skype calls involve video, and the AiGuru SV1 is seen as a response to that trend.
The device gets online through either the built-in Wi-Fi module or an Ethernet jack, and needs only a Skype account to get started. The AiGuru SV1 also supports SkypeIn and SkypeOut for voice calls involving real-world numbers, and can set up call forwarding from the device. It also gives users access to Skype voicemail. Via the AiGuru SV1, users can also join multi-user video conferences but not contribute to them.
The battery life is rated at a rather low 20 minutes of talk time and only 30 minutes of standby, meaning the AiGuru will spend most of its time plugged in. ASUS all the same promises a two-hour recharge time. Apart from the built-in microphone and speaker, users can connect a headset via the 3.5mm audio jack.
The ASUS AiGuru SV1 can be now be ordered via Skype's online store for the North American and European markets and ship at the start of October. It carries a price of nearly $300.