January 7, 2009 As Internet connectivity extends further around the world and broadband uptake becomes almost ubiquitous, Skype finds itself in an excellent position dominating the Internet telephony business with its simple, familiar software and free Skype-to-Skype calls around the world. It's certainly our preferred communication tool at Gizmag, keeping our globetrotting team in touch without any fuss. And now it can be completely divorced from the computer, as Asus has shown with its AiGuru SV1 standalone videophone at the 2009 Vegas CES. The US$300 AiGuru can connect to the net through your home wifi, and with its built-in speaker, camera, screen and microphone, you've got a fully functional videophone right out of the box, ready to connect to the world's biggest videophone network.
The Asus AiGuru SV1 is very quick to set up - hook it into your broadband through a LAN cable or wifi, sign in to your Skype account.... And that's pretty much it. The unit can sit plugged in or run on its inbuilt rechargeable battery so you can take it into the boudoir for those 'special' video calls, and it's able to hook into conference calls. You can plug in headphones and a microphone if you want extra privacy, and you can dial non-Skype numbers and enjoy the super-cheap Skype landline rates too.
Beyond that, the interface is simple and icon-based, the hi-res 7" LCD display is big and colourful and the whole unit is endorsed by Skype - in fact, North Americans can get their hands on it right now at the Skype online store.