Sony said on Monday that it had teamed up with Skype to enable users of its new slim PlayStation Portable handheld video game machine to make free or low cost telephone calls around the world.
In the latest move by the electronics giant to try to broaden the appeal of its consoles amid fierce competition with rival Nintendo Co, Sony said the new service would be available in late January for PSP-2000 owners.
After a system software update, PSP users will be able to chat for free to other Skype users and, for a charge, call landlines and cellphones anywhere in the world, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc said in a statement.
The move aims to "promote the expansion of the PSP platform as a handheld entertainment system to enjoy a variety of interactive digital entertainment", it said.
Skype, which was bought by eBay in October of 2004, uses a peer-to-peer network to enable users to make free internet telephone calls to each other through their computers.
Skype calls "out" to standard or mobile telephones can be made at low rates.
Sony meanwhile, which changed the way the world listens to music with the Walkman, is trying to regain its cool credentials after struggling in recent years against innovative new products like Apple's iPod and Nintendo's Wii.