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In Use

Unlike Skype, which has versions that run on Windows XP or 2000, Mac OS X, Linux or Pocket PC systems, the DUALphone is supported only on systems running Windows XP and 2000. This limitation is due to the two applications that must be installed.

One of the two applications is a process that it launched each time you start up Windows, and handles communication between Skype and the handset. The other (Figure 7) is a GUI that you can use to see if everything is okey dokey between the DUALphone and Skype, and set the country (U.S. or Canada) and dialing prefix preference.

DUALphone suite GUI

Figure 7: DUALphone suite GUI

The Status tab shown in Figure 7 also has links to PDF versions of the Quick Guide and User Manual that are installed onto your hard drive along with the applications. You get a printed copy of the Quick Guide, but I recommend you refer to the more useful User Manual or online help if you have questions.

My initial install was uneventful and consisted of plugging the base into power and a USB port on my PC that already had Skype running and running the installer on the supplied CD. My problems began, however, when I decided to upgrade to the latest firmware I found posted on the Dualphone website.

Long story short, I had a hell of a time getting the phone operable again, due to a bug in the installer that kept trying to repeatedly install the same firmware over and over and my subsequent quitting the installer mid-stream when I saw it stuck in a loop. The problem I ran into was confirmed as a bug by my contact at RTX Telecom, who assured me that the currently posted Cordless DUALphone Suite v1.96 fixed the problem.

Tip Tip: If you choose to run the upgrade, I recommend that you pay attention to the messages from both the PC running the installer and the handset's display. The installer may run multiple programs and you'll need to wait for all of them to finish!

Once I got past the installation hurdle, I dove right in and started using the phone. As you can see from Figure 8, which I grabbed from the user Manual, some of the commonly used functions have dedicated keys, including separate "Phone" and "PC" buttons for initiating Skype and "regular" calls and INT key for making internal handset-to-handset calls.

Other convenient, though not-as-obvious functions available without having to descend into the function menus are Muting a call by pressing the DEL (left) position on the four-way rocker pad, and adjusting in-progress call volume using the up and down arrows on the four-way rocker pad.

DUALphone Function summary

Figure 8: DUALphone Function summary
(click image to enlarge)
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