Speech Technology Magazine

 

Skype Building a Mobile Base

New software versions of popular VoIP calling platform available for a growing number of mobile devices and platforms.
Posted Jan 9, 2009
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Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider and eBay subsidiary Skype today unveiled Skype 1.0 Beta for Intel-based Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and a lite version of Skype, a thin client for Skype that can be downloaded on Android-powered devices and more than 100 other Java-enabled mobile phones.

Skype 1.0 Beta for MIDs, which is based on the Intel Atom processor and Moblin-based Linux OS, empowers these devices with a rich communications capability through a new, optimized interface designed to deliver a great experience and fast, smooth kinetic scrolling support on the touch screen displays of MIDs. The software enables you to make free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls to anywhere in the world, in addition to cheap calls to landlines and mobiles. It also includes instant messaging, group IM, SMS, call forwarding, voicemail, presence (seeing when your contacts are online) and the ability to receive calls from other Skype users or to your personal online number. MIDs’ faster performance and wireless connectivity also enable Skype users to experience an excellent mobile video calling experience.

“Today’s introduction of the first, complete Internet communications offering for MIDs bridges the gap between the phone and PC and underscores our vision of ‘Skype everywhere’ and our commitment to open access,” said Scott Durchslag, Skype’s chief operating officer. “By supporting WiFi, WiMax, 3G and 4G, this development expands Skype’s mobile portfolio and further illustrates the broad accessibility to Skype that we offer on a multitude of mobile devices.”

“Mobile Internet Devices enable users to enjoy the full Internet experience and stay connected with their friends and family wherever they go,” said Pankaj Kedia, director of global ecosystem programs in the Ultra Mobility Group at Intel . “Our collaboration with Skype to deliver Skype 1.0 Beta for Mobile Internet Devices based on the Intel Atom processor and Moblin-based Linux OS will provide new ways for users to communicate anywhere, anytime.

Likewise, the launch of Skype Lite builds on successful public testing last year and the incorporation of user feedback to an earlier beta version that was only available on a limited number of mobile devices. The updated beta now makes Skype software broadly available to millions of mobile users worldwide, including for the first time, mobile users in the United States. The lite version delivers core Skype capabilities, including:

  • Making Skype-to-Skype calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world
  • Sending/receiving instant messages to/from individuals or groups
  • Making Skype calls at low rates to people on landline or mobile phones
  • Receiving calls to your online personal phone number on Skype
  • Seeing when your Skype contacts are online/available to chat

The lite version of Skype uses local air time and a mobile internet connection to sign in to Skype, update contact lists, update presence status, and send/receive calls or messages. Users must have both a calling plan and a data plan on their mobile phones to use it.

"Making the Skype experience available for download to Android-powered devices, as well as hundreds of other mobile phones from the world’s leading handset manufacturers is a major step forward for Skype,” Durchslag said. “Nearly half the world’s population are mobile phone users today, and we know that many people who already use Skype want the option to use Skype on their mobile phones. We are committed to working towards our goal of getting Skype into the pockets of the mobile masses.”

The lite version of Skype is currently available for Android devices, which today include the T-Mobile G1, the first Android-powered mobile phone currently available in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is expected to also work on other future Android devices. Android device users can download this beta version of Skype by visiting Android Market.

It also works on more than 100 of the most popular Java-enabled phones from the world’s top five handset manufacturers, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. The lite version of Skype is available globally, with the ability to make Skype-to-Skype calls and low cost calls to landlines and mobiles abroad currently available in 10 countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Brazil, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Australia, and New Zealand.

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