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Skype Officially Coming on the iPhone – enjoy free calls over WiFi

By • Mar 30th, 2009 • Category: ! Product News

Skype Officially Coming on the iPhone - enjoy free calls over WiFi

Skype Officially Coming on the iPhone
Free calls
over WiFi

Truphone’s VoIP app had transformed the iPod Touch into a WiFi iPhone. And now, Skype is all set to launch their iPhone application. Skype’s arrival will create a competitive situation in the cellular service provider market, reported Wall Street Journal. The common man can look forward to cheaper calling rates on the VoIP.

EBay’s Skype is set to launch Skype App for the iPhone platform. The Skype VoIP app is already available for the Symbian 60, Windows Mobile, and Android platforms. Later this year, Skype intends to launch the app for BlackBerry devices as well, and a panel for Sony Xperia X1 is anticipated soon. Skype as a service always existed through a multi-account IM application called Fring.
Skype uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which allows users to make voice calls for free to other Skype users on a computer or supported mobile phones, using the Wi-Fi hotspot. Also, landline numbers can be called, but at a charge that differs from country to country.

Last month, Skype had signed an exclusive deal with Nokia at the Mobile World Congress 2009 to offer Skype as a pre-installed app in their upcoming mobile handsets.

The VoIP major Skype’s initiative will help mobile phone owners to reduce their calling costs; this could be disturbing to cellular service providers. Skype offers landline and international calls at more affordable rates than mobile service providers.

When Skype hits App Stores, iPhone owners would be able to call other Skype contacts for free. Also, iPod Touch owners can use Skype, utilizing a headset with a microphone. All the above mentioned features would make Skype attractive to iPhone, iPod Touch, and supported mobile phone owners. Skype uses a 6.25 kb per second data connection; users on an unlimited GPRS data plan can benefit from this. Now, users may wish for a front panel camera to make video calls as well, using the WiFi network, since it could be data intensive on a GPRS connection. Such a feature may be included in the next generation iPhone, hopefully.

The big question is whether cellular service providers will allow Skype to provide international calling facility to users. Allowing Skype to do that will directly affect their income from international calls.

Skype Officially Coming on the iPhone - enjoy free calls over WiFi

With more than 450 million registered users, Skype has long been an in-demand mobile application. Clients from third party developers such as Truphone and Nimbuzz allow Skype functionality on the iPhone, and Nimbuzz also made Skype available to BlackBerry users, but this is the first Skype-powered application for either device.
In December, Skype announced beta clients for Windows Mobile-enabled devices, Skype Lite. As of January 2009, Skype was available for Google’s Android mobile platform and more than 100 Java-enabled mobile phones. The company’s CEO, Scott Durchslag, told Reuters the number one request Skype get from customers is to make the service available on the iPhone. “There’s a pent-up demand,” he told Reuters. The company will officially announce the application’s availability on Tuesday at the CTIA Wireless convention in Las Vegas.

Skype iPhone application would come to market soon, perhaps as early as this week. Durchslag said the application, which will be free to download and allow free calls from one Skype account to the other (as it is with the desktop application) might one day support video.

“If we do it we will have to do it incredibly well,” he told . “I’m firmly convinced that if Skype could find a way to bridge all those cellphone cameras and laptop cameras it might kick start a video telephony opportunity,” he said. With many working professionals and small business owners looking to reduce costs in a down economy, the Skype application—video capability or not—seems well poised to increase in popularity, especially in the United States, where its adoption has been slower than in European countries.

Skype has shown others signs that it is going after the business market with more gusto than in previous years, largely at the behest of its parent company, eBay. Last week, Skype released a beta version of Skype for SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), which allows peer-to-peer VOIP clients to interact with existing IP PBXs. The wide release of the service is scheduled for later this year.

IDC’s research analyst for enterprise mobility and IP communications services, Rebecca Swensen, says businesses have been waiting for Skype to make a concerted push into the business space for a while. “Connecting to existing standards-based SIP PBXes is a good way for Skype to start doing so,” she says. “It will be interesting to see how large companies change their thinking about the deployment of Skype within the network.”

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