Netgear has announced that its NETGEAR Skype Wi-Fi Phone is now available for pre-order in the US.

The new phone, which will cost $249.99, will allow users to make calls via their Skype account at any open Wi-Fi hotspot without the need to have a computer with them.

The announcement, although still expensive for a mobile phone, is likely to send shockwaves of horror to traditional mobile operators like Orange and Vodafone.

The Wi-Fi phone's on-screen colour menu shows saved Skype contacts and their online availability for easy communications, similar to the PC experience, and users will be able to contact other Skype users for free or using SkypeOut for a reduced cost compared to standard mobile phone tariffs.

"We are pleased to announce pre-order availability of NETGEAR's Skype Wi-Fi phone to those who have been anxiously awaiting the product launch since we unveiled a prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show", said Patrick Lo, NETGEAR's chairman and chief executive officer.

The company has not yet confirmed when the phone will be coming to the UK and how much it will cost.

We will keep you posted.