Ipevo Inc., a Taiwanese startup based in California, has launched the beta version of a software driver that allows its Skype phones to be used on computers running Apple’s Mac OS X, the company said Thursday.
It’s the company’s first attempt to get its Free-1 Skype phones, handsets that plug into a computer via its USB (universal serial bus) port and are designed for free Internet phone calls using Skype Technologies SA’s popular VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) software, into the hands of Mac users.
Ipevo did not say when the final version of the driver would be available.
The Free-1 phones are designed to make VOIP calls easy. They plug into a desktop or laptop through a USB port, and by pressing a button on the phone Skype is launched, ready for voice calls over the Internet to another computer. For SkypeOut, users need only to press a large “+” key, and then they can make calls from their computer to telephones.
The company, which launched its Free-1 phones in September, has already sold over 20,000 handsets, said Robert Lo, chief operating officer at Ipevo.
Other companies already make VOIP handsets that can be used on Macintosh computers. Atcom Technology Co. Ltd, which is based in Shenzhen, China, offers the AU-100 USB phone, which supports several operating systems including the Mac OS, and works with VOIP software from a number of vendors, including Skype, MSN, X-Lite and SJphone.