Skype VoIP handsets have taken a leap forward today with the launch of the DUALphone 3088, which allows you to use the Skype VoIP service alongside your landline phone without the need to have it connected to a computer.

The news comes just days after Siemens launched its PC-Free VoIP handset, the Siemens C460 IP, priced around £79.00, that connects to a normal fixed line as well as a DSL-Router connection.

Similarly the RTX handset works like the Siemens offering, and allows the user to decide whether to make a free call via the Internet between Skype users, or to use the regular landline connection.

As well as freeing users from the PC, the DECT-enabled DUALphone has a simple Skype user interface and possesses nearly all Skype voice features for which Skype software is known.

The new DUALphone 3088 has a colour display and an operating time of more than 10 hours of talk time as well as up to 140 hours at standby.

Customers will still have to connect the unit to their broadband router.

The DUALphone 3088 will be available from today and at the Skype Online Store from 1 December 2006 and cost £99.

Skype’s global user base currently stands at 136 million.

Philips announced it would be launching a PC-free Skype handset earlier in the year. Due to be released in November the handset has yet to materialise.