Linksys Yahoo! Messenger CIT310 Phone Hands On

Cordless phones and instant messaging. Two great tastes that taste great together?

Yahoo! has teamed up with Linksys to offer a DECT (Digital Enchanced Cordless Telecommunications – essentially a cordless standard that doesn’t interfere with WiFi) phone with Yahoo! Messenger features. The catch? The phone has to be tether to a running PC to send and receive Yahoo! voice calls.

Like many of these phones, the base station which connects to the PCs USB port does not support OS X. No surprise there. If you run XP, however, you’re golden. I hooked up the phone to my laptop and the Vonage phone line. The audio was crisp and clear and the whole held a charge for most of the week, so that side of the cordless phone equation is as expect. We had good range, keeping a call for about 50 feet out into the back yard here at the Biggs manse.

The Yahoo! Messenger side was a bit harder to get started. I installed the driver and Yahoo! Messenger with voice and was then forced to fire up my older XP machine to talk to the cordless phone. The OS X version of Yahoo! Messenger doesn’t support Yahoo Voice, so now you artsy types can’t call the ‘rents back home. Oh well.

Otherwise, the call was fairly straightorward. There is a Yahoo! key on the front face and a “home phone” button for dialing on the POTS aka Plain Old Telephone System. The buttons are a recessed and a bit hard to differentiate, especially since the face of the unit is black plastic.

The ideal user for this device is one with an XP machine running Yahoo! Messenger with a local phone line. As a phone, it is quite useful. As a Yahoo! Messenger device a bit less. However, if you’re a die-hard Messenger fan and already use the Voice features, then this Linksys phone is a compelling, if not fully-baked, addition to your peripheral war chest.

The CIT310 is available through and will be available through other leading online retailers later this month for about $99.99.