EarthLink, one of the U.S. biggest ISPs, is looking to offer more robust VoIP solutions. To that end, they've begun a beta test of WiFi handsets, intended to be used either for local home VoIP use or for use near any public hotspot. The price is significantly less than what we've seen for other WiFi handsets, with a cradle that doubles as the access point and a handheld unit for around $100. Obviously, they are looking for people to couple it with the VoIP services they already offer, and are pitching it as a less expensive alternative to landlines or in some cases cells.

Obviously cells have VoIP beat by a long margin in terms of range and flexibility, but with many hotspots often covering college campuses or large downtown areas, WiFi handsets may find a niche market very soon.