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Apple Computer, the company behind Macintosh computers and successful iPod digital media players, may never launch its cell phones branded as iPhone, despite of the fact that it has applied for an appropriate brand-name. Linksys, a division of leading communications firm Cisco Systems, announced on Monday its lineup of iPhone devices.

The new family of voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) iPhone phones includes models compatible with Skype and Yahoo! Messenger services that cost from $79.99 to $369.99. The new phones can be used to call traditional landlines as well as use such services as Skype, SkypeOut, SkypeIn and Skype voicemail. In addition, some of the phones support various multimedia capabilities as well as Web browsing.

“As the next generation of handheld devices, Linksys iPhone voice solutions and products are changing the way people communicate with their friends, family and colleagues. They enable compelling internet services, allow consumers to know when their contacts are available for calls, and offer access to personal content like music, movies and live video cameras.” said Mike Pocock, Linksys senior vice president and general manager.

Apple Computer is expected to release its own cell-phone under iPhone brand-name in early 2007 and the company even applied for the appropriate trademark. Nevertheless, Engadget web-site reported that Cisco already registered the trademark back in the nineties and with the Linksys iPhone on the market Apple is more than unlikely to use the same name for its device.

The cell phones from Apple are currently expected to be very small and feature 4GB or 8GB of flash memory, depending on the model and its price-point. Earlier it was reported that one of the Apple iPhones will feature Wi-Fi connectivity, but fresh pieces of unofficial information does not point to that capability, instead, they claim that the Apple’s phone will be “doing some unique things”. The device will reportedly feature two batteries, one for MP3 playback and one for the phone.

The cell phone from Apple will come to market at $249 and $449 price-points.

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