Update: Asus tells us that the product wasn't supposed to be announced just yet. They're still tweaking the unit, so the specs listed below aren't the final specs. What we do know is that this device is coming and it is going to be something similar to this, but minor details will probably be changed. The original writeup and release are after the jump.
Skype video calling just got a lot more Grandma-friendly with Asus' new AiGuru SV1. It's a dedicated Skype-compatible standalone videophone with a "simple-to-use, icon-based interface" meaning Granny can speak to you and see you without having to mess around with computers. There's a 7-inch LCD, integrated VGA webcam (of course,) it connects over 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi or ethernet to a router, and even packs a battery so it'll let users chat for 20 minutes without mains power if needs be. It's the first Skype-blessed videophone, and you'll be able to buy one for Granny in early October for $US299. All that remains then is persuading her that the sci-fi-like box is really easy to use, and cheap too. Press release below.
Taipei, Taiwan, September 18, 2008 - September 18, 2008 - ASUS today unveiled the AiGuru SV1, the world's first Skype Certified™ videophone dedicated to unlimited video calling over the Internet. Boasting a large 7" display and a built-in webcam, speaker and microphone, the WiFi-capable videophone lets users make unlimited video calls for free to other Skype users without the need for a computer.
Its simple-to-use, icon-based interface and intuitive button layout take the complexity out of Internet calling - making it easy for anyone to make and receive Skype-to-Skype video and voice calls. Users can even join voice conferences, making the ASUS AiGuru SV1 an inexpensive, all-in-one voice and video conferencing solution for small businesses. Furthermore, the ASUS AiGuru SV1 also allows users to make and receive calls to and from fixed and mobile lines at really cheap rates.
"The AiGuru SV1 is Skype's first foray with a partner into the videophone category," said Jonathan Cristensen, Skype's general manager, mobile and hardware devices. "With more than 25% of Skype-to-Skype calls including video, we know that video is fast becoming a mainstream way for people to communicate. The videophone offers the benefits of video calling to a much wider audience, allowing friends and families to share their worlds face-to-face without being tied to a computer."
Free Calls Whenever, Wherever and Forever
With the ASUS AiGuru SV1, free unlimited video and voice calls can be made to anyone on Skype. Whether it's a father, child, or business colleague receiving a video or voice call, they do not have to be using a videophone; as long as they are connected to Skype - via a computer or a Skype-enabled device - the call will always be free. This enables people worldwide to make Skype-to-Skype calls either at home or the office whenever the need or mood strikes, without having to worry about cost. ASUS AiGuru SV1 users looking to make outgoing and receive incoming calls to and from fixed and mobile lines can subscribe to one of Skype's popular unlimited calling* subscriptions or purchase Skype credit to make outgoing calls at www.skype.com
Great Video and Voice Communications Experience
The ASUS AiGuru SV1 is designed specifically for video calling and is equipped with a large, high-resolution 7" TFT LCD and an integrated webcam, for the best video calling quality. The ASUS AiGuru SV1 also features a built-in microphone and speaker supporting exceptional sound quality. Users who wish to have privacy during their calls can use a standard mini-jack headset and microphone.
Easy to Set Up and Easy to Use
The ASUS AiGuru SV1 offers the quickest and easiest way to make free video calls - at no point is a computer or additional software required. Users can get up and running in three simple steps:
1. Connect to a broadband connection, either wirelessly or via an Ethernet cable
2. Sign-in with an existing Skype name or create a new one
3. Start video calling
The videophone is as easy to use as it is to set up. Its icon-driven user interface and clean, clearly labelled button layout are designed to be immediately intuitive to users.
With its WiFi capability, small footprint and rechargeable battery power system, the ASUS AiGuru SV1 also offers convenience in its portability. The user is neither tied to a wall socket nor a computer during use, which means the videophone can be moved from room to room without hassle, and without interrupting or dropping a call.
The ASUS AiGuru SV1 will initially be available for pre-order on September 18, 2008 in Europe and North America from Skype's online shop (www.skype.com/shop). It will be on sale at the beginning of October 2008 priced $299.95/€249.95/£199.95. The videophone will be available in retail outlets in the Asia Pacific region later this year.
*Unlimited calling: All calls are subject to Skype's fair usage policy which is set at 10,000 minutes per month (which equates to more than 5 hours of calling per day). Unlimited calls to landlines in up to 36 countries worldwide are included. Calls to premium, non-geographic and other special numbers are excluded.
Key Skype features
- Skype-to-Skype video and voice calls
- Call fixed lines and mobiles with Skype credit and/or subscriptions
- Online Number (SkypeIn™) - allows anyone to reach you on Skype
- Call forwarding
- Skype Voicemail
- Participate in voice conference calls (as a guest only)
Wireless: 802.11 b/g
Wired: 10/100Mb Ethernet port
202 mm (L) x 123 mm (W) x 253 mm (H)
800 X 480 pixel 7" TFT LCD
Built in Webcam CMOS (640 X 480 pixels)
AC Adaptor: 12V/3A
Talking Time : 20 minutes
Standby Time : 30 minutes
Battery charging time
Wireless: 50 m (actual transmission distance may vary depending on operating conditions)
Keypad and buttons
- Power button
- Volume keys
- 5-way navigation (Up, Down, Left, Right and Select keys)
- Menu key
- Back key
- Call key
- End key
- 3.5 mm Headphone jack and Microphone jack
- RJ-45 connector
- USB type A connector
- DC Jack
- Battery connector