A Bluetooth handset designed for Skype will arrive in the UK in April. The Trendnet Clearsky VoIP (voice over IP) phone, which works with a Bluetooth dongle to access all the normal Skype functions, will be available from Elite Devices in April.

"It's very, very straightforward," said Ron Pye, a representative of Elite Devices. "There's a display that makes it as easy as Skype software. It gives you a buzz when your contacts come online."

The Bluetooth 2.0 dongle – which has a range of up to 100m – activates Skype software when the phone is in use, but also acts as a regular Bluetooth adapter for communicating with other phones, headsets and similar devices.

"You can walk around a decent-sized open-plan office making a phone call," said Pye, who has used the device. "I walked to the local park using it." The dongle also supports the EDR (enhanced data rate) of Bluetooth 2.0.

As well as Skype, the phone can also be used to 'dial' calls over IM (instant messaging) software such as MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. It has a longer battery life than Wi-Fi phones, at 60 hours of standby and six hours of talk time.

Although this version has only a mono screen, Trendnet is expected to produced a colour-screen version, and the same thing could be implemented in software on mobile phone with Bluetooth, in much the same way as BT's Bluephone used Bluetooth for indoor voice.

It is already possible to do Skype on cordless phones, either by buying Skype DECT phones such as the Linksys CIT200, or using a USB interface such as the ActionTec phone wizard to connect a conventional DECT phone.

The UK price is yet to be determined but, as it sells in the US for $100, we might hope it could come in at somewhat less than £100.

This story first appeared on Techworld.com.