Which mobile Skype client will win?

20 Comments

Updated: Skype’s lack of desire to release a mobile client has opened a small window of opportunity for a few start-ups – iSkoot, Mobivox, Fring, and EQO. These companies are creating clients that run the Skype service inside a server farm, and allow you to make and receive Skype calls on your mobiles. It is no surprise, that they have received major infusion of venture dollars.

The latest to get a big fat round of funding is EQO, that just announced that it has raised $9 million from Venture West, Growth Works and BDC Capital. The company has raised over $12.5 million in funding.

EQO is also benefiting from VC interest in mobile VoIP, though I have some serious questions about the potential payoff. The big question, however, is that which of these three will emerge as an eventual winner. Will it be Skype, that will finally release a mobile client of its own? (Skype currently offers a Windows Mobile version of its client, though its functionality is limited.) Have your say in our poll.

20 Comments

TruLover

to me truphone ads the most of value everyday. I started using Fring but the application was annoying. I had to uninstall it after a week of pain!

sophie

I have had the chance to try MOBIVOX (only by invitation until public release). Any mobiles and no download are the most significant features that will make the difference for me as a non-tech skype user.

Kristine

While the client debate is interesting, the mass market will not or cannot download and manage a client on their phone. Moreover, to get wide distribution, you need pre-install deals with the manufacturers. All of this is a long way away.

As I understand it, Mobivox is the only player that offers Skype on every mobile phone with no client. This is interesting to me.

Om Malik

Mark,

The 3 phones that have skype are using the iSkoot client – a different version – it is not a Skype-made client.

Om Malik

All right guys, sorry about missing Fring – it was late at night, and well, no reason for not to include them. I added them to the poll and also to the story.

Mark

Skype has been available on 3 handsets in the UK for a little while now. 3 are the first network in the UK to offer a decent amount of bandwidth inclusive with some packages which makes services such as Skype and Orb useful on the move – at last. I haven’t used it myself, having decided that all networks want my soul and I’ve now reverted to two tin cans and a piece of string.

Joanna Stern

Yea what about Fring! As the application becomes more compatible with more handsets it is bound to take major ground…

Andrew

None of them, when the mobile VoIP market matures Skype will release a client on there own. I highly doubt very much the players in this space now are basing the success of there business on acting as a 3rd party developer for Skype. More likely they are using Skype as a tool for exposure to the market.

Markus Goebel

Why don’t you mention Fring? Its still the most complete messaging experience on a phone and the best mobile Skype client to me. Great Skype voice quality on Wi-Fi and great chat text messaging on GPRS. I use it daily.

Antti

The winner will be… Fring! Having Skype, MSN, GTalk, & SIP

Martin Lawrence

The MNO are able (and willing) to block VoIP traffic. When Skype pulled their mobile client I assumed that, until agreements with the major MNOs had been reached, a release would do more damage than good.

jon

why oh why, when mobile Skype comes up that Fring gets ignored. it works well and also includes Googletalk functionality.

Tommix

none of them will win!
Fring is a free and fully functioning exxellent app
get it at http://www.fring.com
fring supports wlan on mobiles too so if you find a hotspot your voip is free :-D work flawlessly on my Nokia N80, fring supports skype, google chat, msn and SIP.

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