The folks at Skype are feeling all World Cup-y and have started a promotion designed to keep football fans in touch for free. Skype users in the U.S. can call any mobile or landline for free for the entire month; check the details for other countries.
Verizon and Skype shared details of their partnership: an exclusive Skype mobile client for BlackBerry and Android handsets arrives this week. Skype-to-Skype calls won’t count against data or voice limits although all Skype calls will be routed over Verizon’s traditional voice circuits.
The buzz surrounding the belief we’ll see the Nexus One appear on Verizon today clearly demonstrates the popularity of the Android platform, and the desire to see the best Android phone on the Verizon network. The thought of a Verizon Nexus One running Skype is awesome.
The Windows Mobile world may have recently lost Skype, but Symbian owners can rejoice as the VoIP app has gone gold. Skype for Symbian is now available in the Ovi Store, and is a full featured client supporting most of Skype’s services.
If you’re looking to install Skype on your Windows Mobile handset, you can stop looking. Skype pulled the software and there’s actually a very good reason. It’s been the same issue that’s hampered the Skype experience for years on Windows Mobile devices.
Verizon Wireless makes a statement about its network with the announcement of Skype Mobile over 3G. Starting next month, Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G won’t be charged against data plans or voice minute allowances. Nine BlackBerry and Android handsets will initially be supported.
Google Voice in the browser for iPhone and webOS might dominate the radar today, but let’s not overlook Windows Mobile (s msft) and software clients. If you do that, you’ll miss out on the news from SHAPE Services, creators of IM+ All-in-One Messenger. Today the company adds Skype as a supported chat service to its application for Windows Mobile devices version 5 and up. That means with one application, you don’t have to worry which chat service your friends use.
Along with the new support for Skype contacts, IM+ works with AIM, iChat, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo, ICQ, Jabber, Google Talk, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. That covers just about everything, no? Version 7.6.1 of IM+ for Windows Mobile will set you back $39.95, but there is a free 7-day trial available. The price sounds steep for a mobile client, but bear in mind two things. One, you’re pretty much covered on all of the major chat networks. And two, you’re paying for a lifetime license — all future upgrades are free.
Earlier this week, the folks at Skype updated the latest and greatest beta version for Linux. Beta 2 of Skype 2.1 adds some features that Windows and Mac users have enjoyed for some time now — screen sharing, quoting of chat messages and support for different user interface styles. Also in the beta build is support for High Quality Video and super wideband audio, but if I recall correctly, those were introduced in a previous version. The screen sharing can be full screen or just a selected portion according to Lifehacker.
To get the beta build running on your Linux distro, your system needs are pretty meager — a 1GHz processor, 256 MB of RAM, 20 MB of free storage, a video card with Xv support, and of course, a microphone and headset jack.
Skype is one of the few apps I install on every machine I have simply because I find it so useful. The screen sharing feature trumps my other oft-used app for audio / video chatting, which is Google Talk (s goog). You can collaborate on documents in real time with Google Docs while chatting on Google Talk, but it’s just not the same. The fact that Skype is supported across platforms also makes it a key app. It’s getting to the point where I need an app to be usable on nearly every type of architecture whether it’s an operating system, mobile platform or the web itself.
Aside from a few missing tidbits to be determined, the full specifications of Google’s Nexus One are in plain sight on Engadget. I recommend you review the full listing, but here are the highlights, which were mostly leaked prior or shown on video:
- 512 MB of RAM and ROM
- 4 GB microSD card included with support for up to 32 GB of removable storage
- 3.7″ AMOLED display with WVGA resolution
- 5 megapixel camera sensor with 2x digital zoom
- 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support
- 1 GHz Qualcomm (s qcom) QSD 8250 processor
- Removable 1400 mAh battery
- Voice supported on both AT&T (s t) and T-Mobile, but 3G is only good for T-Mo. AT&T’s network will provide EDGE.
All in all, it looks like the most powerful Android (s goog) handset yet, but for all of the early hype of this being “the” Google phone, I don’t see the anticipated disruption that was predicted with enthusiasm. Unless of course, the whole story isn’t told yet. Engadget also reports a January 5, 2010 release date by invitation only. I’m not sure what that’s all about, but again, not disruptive — annoying maybe, but not disruptive.
I’m thinking that Gizmo and Google Voice are the hole cards in this poker game — and possibly Google Talk, which works just like a phone call on the Nokia N900. Google purchased VoIP provider Gizmo last month and when I log into my Google Voice account, I can already set up a Gizmo SIP number as one of my “phones.” I’ve already added a SkypeIn number as well — it works great with Google Voice. A call to my Google Voice number rings any Skype clients on my phones or the Skype client on my PC or Mac. But Google’s investment in Gizmo tells me that Skype won’t be a primary voice solution for Android. Let me turn my own hole card with this thought — do you now see why I was so interested in getting a data-only SIM card on the T-Mobile network? I’m betting on the Google Voice, Google Talk and Gizmo integration because if it comes to pass, it could be the beginning of the end for cellular voice plans.
Just as my excitement over integrated Skype on the Nokia N900 is slowly dying down, the Skype folks do something else to get my attention. This time it’s a beta of Skype for the Symbian S60 platform. The free communications software is only supported on a number of Third Edition, Feature Pack 1 and 2 handsets for now, with more expected when the final version hits. Here’s a listing of devices that can take advantage of the beta: Nokia’s E71, E63, E66, N82, E51, N95, N81, E90, N96, N85, 5320,6210 Navigator & Classic, N78 and N79. (Whew!)
Aside from the basic free Skype-to-Skype calling, the beta includes:
- Calling landline or cell phones with Skype credits or subscription
- Receiving calls on your Online Number
- Instant Messaging
- Group conversations
- File sending and receiving
The software works over both Wi-Fi and 3G mobile broadband, so you’re not limited to hotspot or home usage. Bear in mind that you’ll need 6 MB of storage space to install Skype, so a little early spring cleaning might be in order. Note that this version uses its own contact management — as far as I can tell, there’s no native integration with your handset’s contact app like that fancy N900.