Another WLAN-WiFi enabled GSM phone will become available soon to consumers in Europe and the USA. D-Link is introducing a new unlocked Linux based phone that can be used with normal GSM cell phone networks as well as with wireless WiFi networks. HP, Nokia and Siemens (now BenQ) plus others have all recently introduced similar devices.
Well you say what does that interest me, I’ve got a mobile phone and its working fine?
I believe you have heard about Internet telephones, Skype and all the other VoIP service providers. You might have followed the debates about roaming cost regulations in Europe – to put a ceiling on what cell phone network providers would be allowed to charge their customers. In short – why pay USD 10 per minute for long distance or even USD 1 per minute for local calls when a dollar can get you an hour of the same service.
And already today Wireless Internet access is free in quite some places. And wherever you have Internet access with sufficient bandwidth you can place a call with a VoIP enabled phone like the D-Link one.
As soon as this will become mainstream – and expect it within the next 12-18 months latest – plus more and more full cover WiFi networks becoming available, this will be disruptive to the current price and service model of GSM – network providers. Guess why almost all of them are blocking VoIP services over their GSM Internet services.
Well there is some small print and we will cover this whole technology / service area and what it means for customers soon on this web site, so for now lets just get back to the D-Link phone…
The DLink V-Click is a dual-mode WiFi VoIP / GSM phone that provides tri-band (900/1800/1900) GSM radio — meaning it should work anywhere in the world, with any GSM-GPRS SIM card, including pre-paid cards and those from traditional GSM service providers, D-Link says.
With the V-Click” button along the side users can quickly toggle between GSM and WiFi. When enabled, users can make VoIP calls or use the Internet via WiFi (One-button WiFi activation/deactivation).
Additional features include:
- Five hours talk time on GSM, or two on WiFi
- Hardware button switches off WiFi radio for better battery life
- Up to 24MB of memory for user file storage, such as music and videos
- 176 x 220-pixel color display
- Mobile Opera browser
- Email client
- 4.2 x 1.7 x 0.75 inches (106 x 44 x 19mm)
- 3.4 ounces (95 grams)
What D-Link is not telling that the V-Click, as it appears, is a rebranding of the N9UF Linux based phone model created by the Taiwanese ODM (original design manufacturer) WNC.
And WNC is selling phones through importers also to end users in Europe and the USA. So its your choice to either pay USD 600 for the unlocked version to D-Link for their branding or pick it up for about USD 250 without the logo. In Europe, French GSM provider Neuf is already offering the WNC Twin phone subsidized as part of their GSM services for EUR 1 (USD 1.3) to customers.
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