Getting Skype to work on mobile phones has been the ambition of an excess of startups, and has gotten some recent attention from a few carriers too. The latest startup to tackle mobile Skype is Mobivox, which has recently changed its company and service name from Voxlib, and is currently running a private alpha trial that it aims to launch at CTIA next week.
The Montreal-based startup that was founded in 2005, raised funds (total undisclosed) from Canadian venture firms Brightspark and Skypoint Capital. It’s new service offers local access numbers which users can call to reach available Skype contacts as well as their other mobile and landline contacts. The service also offers the ability to do conference calls, and a place to combine your address book. It might not be a true mobile Skype solution, but its low tech and works.
Mobivox was a little kludgy to set up originally, probably cause its still in Alpha, but the easy part about it is it can use voice commands over a regular local phone call, so I just dial and say “my contact” and “Skype” and the service will connect me to an available Skype user — or my other contacts’ mobile and landline numbers. I finally got it to automatically sync with my Skype contacts after I triggered the sync by calling in to see if my Skype contacts were online or not.
The most frustrating part of trying to access Skype mobile solutions over some of the other services is downloading the client on the often select number of handsets available. It’s getting better as the startups add more handsets, but its still limited. Well, Mobivox also says they will have a mobile client available starting in April, so I guess they’ll be jumping on that bandwagon too, for users that want a mobile interface.
Mobivox’s previous Skype mobile solution was based on a PC application Skype extension, which isn’t that nice of a solution — EQO used to have a similar PC-style Skype version of these as well. Now that iSkoot seems like its becoming Skype’s chosen mobile solution, other startups with Skype mobile solutions like Mobivox are trying to figure out differentiators.