) native VoIP client for the Apple Inc.
device, available as of this morning from the iTunes App Store, brings the service’s calling and instant messaging to any iPhone (News
) and second-generation iPod Touch that has a compatible headset and microphone.
Scott Durchslag, Skype’s chief operating officer, said the company’s subscribers long have been calling for the new software.
“Skype for iPhone will open up new ways for more than 400 million Skype users to stay connected and take their Skype conversations with them,” Durchslag said. “Skype for iPhone is an experience that offers the same simplicity, ease-of-use and quality our users have come to expect from Skype, combined with an elegance of design and richness so loved by Apple’s (News
) many customers worldwide.”
Yet many reviewers of the application – including this one – are finding it difficult to activate the service once it’s been downloaded. It isn’t clear what Skype and Apple Inc.
have to do to iron out the new software’s bugs, but comments like this one in the App Store are typical:
“This definitely needed more testing. While mine isn’t crashing, as many others have reported, calls get dropped after about a minute or two. In addition, if you navigate to any other section of the app, such as My Info, or even turn off the screen on the iPhone, it automatically puts the call on hold until you get back to the Live Call. Definitely needs to be fixed.”
Personally, I’ve had a difficult time even getting the app to run on a new iPod Touch. Luxembourg-based Skype is holding a press conference that will be Webcast here
at 6:30 p.m. Eastern tonight. The presentation will stream live from CTIA Wireless 2009
Despite the early bugs, the new application is expected to emerge as a disruption in the VoIP and larger telephone markets.
As TMCnet reported
, the new app is said to be more similar in terms of navigation to other iPhone apps than it does for the latest version of Skype for Windows, release 4.0.
Skype already offers a Windows Mobile version of its client, and many tech industry analysts believe that the company will have to continue focusing on mobile to continue growing.
The application released today delivers core Skype capabilities including: free Skype-to-Skype calls from any WiFi (News
) zone to other Skype users worldwide; call landline or mobile phones at Skype’s great low rates from any WiFi zone; send/receive instant messages to/from individuals or groups via 3G, WiFi, GPRS or EDGE (whichever is available); receive calls to a personal online number on Skype; and see when Skype contacts are online/available to IM or talk.
The application requires a WiFi connection to make free Skype-to-Skype calls or low-cost Skype calls to mobiles and landlines. Users will not be charged by Skype for making and receiving Skype-to-Skype calls using an iPhone or iPod touch. Skype’s normal low rates apply if using Skype to call landlines or mobiles.
Profile pictures of other users in a Skype Contacts list are also visible, the company says, and users can update their own Skype profile picture from within the Skype for iPhone app, either by choosing an existing image from a photo album on the device, or by using the camera on the iPhone to take a new photo.
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan