Almost everyone has an old phone or ten laying around the basement/attic, gathering dust and drawing snickers from the younger cellphone-toting generation. Well USRobotics is sick of the dust and the laughter, and they've enlisted their most talented engineers in a Manhattan Project of telephony that has resulted in a USB adapter which allows you to use corded or cordless phones as VoIP handsets. The USR9620 was being shown off at CeBIT, where crowds apparently gathered 'round as USRobotics technicians wowed onlookers by making several Skype calls using one of Alexander Graham Bell's original telephones borrowed from the Smithsonian. Although Bell's model chintzed out on the Caller ID, the 9620 allows your CID-enabled handsets to display Skype names as well as dial SkypeOut numbers directly from the phonebook or keypad. Currently no price or release date has been set for this handy adapter, which is a shame, because we're just itching to break out an old 1.7MHz cordless handset and add fluroscent light and passing car interference to the already sketchy sound quality we've come to know and love from VoIP.
UPDATE: Harold Wallace, the curator of the Smithsonian's telephone
collection, wrote us a kind note asking if we could make it clear that none of Bell's original telephones were utilized
in this demonstration, and since he asked nicely we're more than happy to comply. Ah, the perils of sarcasm!