Free Net calling goes beyond the PC

A version of Skype software for PDAs (personal digital assistants) is expected in the next few months, founder Niklas Zennstrom said in a recent interview. Currently, the software is available only for personal computers. Skype's service lets people make unlimited free phone calls using what's known as voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a technology for placing calls using the Internet. The company is also working with cordless-phone makers to introduce devices that can connect with both Skype users and those on the traditional public telephone network.

After years of slow growth, VoIP is generating significant interest among telecommunications carriers, corporations and consumers, thanks to significant improvements in quality of service. In the past two years, the dropping price of analog telephone adapters, which turn any home phone into an Internet dialer, has enabled VoIP dialing to take place on hundreds of thousands of traditional home phones.

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