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Summary:

Skype will release a version of its VoIP application for the iPhone and the iPod touch on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. I was the first to report news of the pending release last week. (Gee, thanks for giving us credit, WSJ and CNET’s […]

Skype will release a version of its VoIP application for the iPhone and the iPod touch on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. I was the first to report news of the pending release last week. (Gee, thanks for giving us credit, WSJ and CNET’s News.com.)

If you skip past what is essentially a lot of repackaged information in the WSJ, there are two valuable bits of new information: Skype will use Wi-Fi networks, and calls to landlines will cost 2.1 cents a minute. There is no calling over the 3G network. (Not that AT&T’s network can actually take any more pressure.)

SkypeIn and SkypeOut, along with Skype Chat, are the key features of this new version of the Skype application. This is a native P2P application for the iPhone and the iPod touch. It allows group chats and conference calls and is tightly integrated with Apple’s Address Book.

As an aside, I wonder how long before special WiFi-enabled Skype phones go the way of the dodo, now that Skype has got mobile religion.

  1. OMG! This is great. Time to drop my Family plan to the EXTREME MINIMUM and use this all day. Wi-Fi at Work and Wi-fi at home.

    Question:
    1. is it a battery drain?
    2. Must the app be open at all times?

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    1. yeah the app must be open all the times. the battery is a drain. wait and see how it sucks up power. :-)

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      1. Oh see that’s where it falls short and it’s not Skype’s fault.

        Once iPhone supports background notifications, it will eliminate these kind of issues and doesn’t this app fall into the category of “not approved yet” and Apple could reject it last minute or is this app so mainstream that Apple gave it the OK?

        Some really amazing apps were rejected without reason and this application could fall into this category.

        I think I’ll keep my existing family plan until background notifications are available in iPhone 3.0 and then I hope skype actually adds that functionality to make this a usable app.

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      2. Until OS 3 with Backround Notifications is availiable, all these Communication apps are kinda lame…

        But since I use Skype now as my exclusive Desktop VIOP/IM Client, I’m looking forward to use Skype on OS 3 ;-)

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  2. Calls can’t always cost 2.1 cents a minute. For example, what if I have the unlimited monthly plan for $2.95 (calls to US and Canada free)? I’m assuming that I can still use that. It’ll be a complete bummer if I can’t use my plan.

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    1. Yep, you’ll be able to use your subscription just fine :)

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  3. I really don’t see ATT worried since everyone seems to have free long distance now on their cell phone.

    Maybe I am not the intended audience. Because, I would only use this to call my friends in another country via skype. But, I would still rather use a computer at that point or have them use their skype out minutes to reach me on my celly so that I wont have to have the app running all the time.

    Also, I more interesting to see someone make a Google Voice app.

    My two cents,
    – Dave

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    1. thisismrfunk Monday, March 30, 2009

      I agree with you on mostly using it for other countries. My sister lives in Mexico most of the year so this will make it so much more convenient.

      Josh

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  4. OMG! I cannot wait! This is Excellent!
    Thank you for sharing info!

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  5. FYI Skipe is on iphone since a long time, if you just used Fring: http://www.fring.com/download/iphone/
    And if the phone is JB there’s a patch for Fring to make Voip over 3G too…

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  6. Euan Rowlands Monday, March 30, 2009

    Only on wi-fi, that sucks :(

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  7. What will be interesting to see is if European Telcos will allow Skype voice calls over 3G.

    In certain parts of Europe there is fierce competition going on between the incumbent telcos pushing Iphone with the best possible plan. As in a lot of cases – the provider that does not limit their users will win the big masses.

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  8. Well as usual WSJ doesn’t give a link.thats no great surprise.
    I am positive that calls will only work over wifi though, the App store regulatations don’t allow calls over GSM by apps, there is a way around it if your phone is unlicked by yellowsn0w.
    VOiPover3G is a cydia app and works perfectly on Fring and truphone allowing calls over 3G.

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  9. It is somewhat of a surprise that it’s taken Skype this long. I’m not sure what to make of those that talk of Skype’s ‘head start’. They can still throw their weight around, I guess.

    I still don’t see why you think Skype phones won’t make the cut. There are plenty of people like my parents who will never use their cell phones for anything other than calling. But, their Skype phone is a lifeline to family members around the globe.

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  10. 2 major fails by Skype:

    1) App needs to be open all the time. Maybe that’s iPhone’s/Apple’s fault. But if, why doesn’t Skype rather release a version for Symbian instead of releasing a crappy iPhone app?

    2) No Skype calls over 3g networks. Why not, if the phone supports it?

    Cheers

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  11. There is a work around for no background apps. If someone wants to call you on Skype they can just email you and tell you to open up your Skype app. For Skype to Skype call when you get in wifi range or you can call them back.

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  12. Thought this might be one of the 2 comment zones where I note some new folks who may be wandering into GigaOm. Because my favorite newspaper – on or offline – the International Herald Tribune is now fully merged online with its owners, the New York TIMES.

    Type in “IHT” in the address bar, you now go to the TIMES and 1st visit, you choose Global or US edition.

    Haven’t tried the domestic flavor; but, choosing Global – and they remember your IP address – click on Technology in the LH Column – and among other choices, you’ll see in mid-page a listing for GigaOm headlines.

    Har. They know the right place to look.

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  13. Of course, I could have been bright enough to include a link:

    http://www.nytimes.com/pages/technology/index.html

    I need another coffee.

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  14. I don’t think this was any big secret. At CES, the Skype folks me iPhone Skype software was coming soon. Since they weren’t ready at MWC, CTIA was the next obvious launch window. :)

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  15. Om,

    Your last comment is not accurate – Mobile Skype or not, WiFi phones will never die…in fact WiFi phones will be the ONLY phones available in the future ‘land line’ segments.
    Skype has made a smart move with its mobile app – now it will be cheaper for us to keep in touch with people via skype when we travel and at home if your laptop doesn’t ring with a call from friends, then your WiFi phone surely will. (Note: This is what I do – I use my WiFi phone as a backup and my skype with a skypein serves as a means to get in touch either via WiFi or via my Macbook)
    Power to the people!

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  16. Give me

    1. A front facing camera.
    2. Unmetered mobile bandwidth

    Before I take up something like this. Its ok for emergencies, but not realistic for mainstream use yet.

    The alpha testers can go to town tho. I’m sure the raving has already started. ;-)

    Shiva

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    1. Shiva this works only on Wifi so not sure if there is anything to do with your 3G service. Just an FYI

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    2. Shiva this works only on Wifi so not sure if there is anything to do with your 3G service. Just an FYI

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  17. Sachin Balagopalan Monday, March 30, 2009

    It’s about time … http://tinyurl.com/dythao

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  18. Nimbuzz has been on the appstore for ages, has good call quality with VOPI calls (skype, msn, gtalk) and multi-IM services support

    Like it was said, on jailbroken phones, it can run on 3g fine

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    1. Truphone allows calls over 3G and it is available from the app store so I am not sure why Skype does not.

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  19. does “landlines” include cellphones?

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    1. Yes.

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  20. So:
    We have Skype on the iPhone & We have speculation that the next iPhone has a better (perhaps forward facing) camera
    Sounds like we’re going to have Videochat via Skype on the iPhone really soon which would be very cool.

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  21. This is great…it’s better if you think of Skype as a companion to the AT&T service and not a replacement of it. There are many times that I’m traveling and I don’t have AT&T reception but I can get Wi-Fi. This would enable me to make calls without being dependent only on AT&T’s network coverage.

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  22. Compared to Skype, for months I have been using the Siphon Iphone App. Uses SIP, Same Dialer like the Iphone and works beautifully on WiFI. No need to change numbers, just your SIP account rate plans, update uname/settings and you in business. Been a real stable performing app.” Siphon” it’s in Cydia..ver 2.0.7

    I’ll still be checking out Skype though!

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  23. How does the conference call work? You know since my friends and I use the conference call a lot on the pc version of skype, I was wondering if you still make conference calls or not.

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