Skype's proposed new communication device: Skyping with your TV remote?
Skype, the Voice-over-Internet telephony provider that allows you to make cheap calls and free video chats, appears to be working on a companion communication device for its popular software application that would work with a computer, gaming system or television.
A patent filing made public last month shows that Skype, which is owned by eBay, is working on a device (or devices), with a speaker and microphone in some permutations. Among the possibilities are devices that could connect to a computer, video game system or television.
The filing by Skype comes with diagrams, including Fig. 3 below, which shows a rectangular box with a screen and an attached headset. Another version of the device, in Fig. 5 would be a smaller Skype box (those little round knobs, 505 and 506, are a built-in speaker and a microphone) that would connect to a television (501) and would work with a remote control.
(Aside: Wouldn't it be funny if that same remote just happened to be IBM's patent-pending auto-blogging remote, which would be able to auto-Twitter?)
The point of the device seems to be to give Skype users a more dedicated way of receiving phone, video, SMS and instant messages. But it doesn't appear to have a video camera embedded in the device, so you'll still need a separate Web cam to do your Skype video chats.
The patent makes a few references to enabling users to field phone calls on gaming systems that don't interrupt their programs for Skype calls, so perhaps this is a new gadget geared toward gamer geeks.
The inventors listed on the filing are Duncan Lamb, Marek Laasik, Manrique Brenes, and Gareth O'Loughlin.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location: baltimoresun.com/balttech