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Philips is to launch a cordless home videophone designed for making live video and Voice over IP calls via broadband Internet. The Philips VP5500 cordless videophone, announced yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show IFA in Berlin, will be available in the fourth quarter of 2005.

The VP5500 looks like a type of DECT phone, but works by sending and receiving wifi-signals to and from an ADSL or cable modem. The phone, which cannot be used for regular GSM calls, has an integrated VGA video camera capable of rotating through 240-degrees so that users can see what they are filming. The Privacy Cam Key ensures privacy, and users can easily select between just voice or video calling.

The camera can also zoom in and capture still images which are stored, along with phone numbers in the internal memory. Video calls are displayed on a high-resolution colour LCD display, which also enables the caller to see what he or she is capturing on camera. To share the video conversation with a wider audience, the phone can be linked up to a TV. The videophone even has a built-in hands-free speaker system.

Philips and KPN Telecom will launch the videophone this Autumn in the Netherlands as part of a consumer product called InternetPlusBellen (InternetPlusCalling). This package offers customers unlimited phone calls to all fixed phone numbers in the Netherlands as well as unlimited internet ADSL access.

In other countries the product will be available during 2006. Philips intends to partner with third party operators in most European countries.

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