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Skype for iPhone to Be Released as Early as Next Week

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Exclusive Heads up: A few months ago, I asked Skype CEO Josh Silverman when was he going to launch the iPhone version of the P2P voice and IM service that has now been downloaded more than 405 million times. He smiled and said, “Stay tuned.” And so we did. [digg=]

A tipster — a very reliable one — tells me that Skype is almost ready to launch that iPhone (s aapl) version, perhaps as soon as next week. CTIA Wireless, a large mobile industry trade event, kicks off in Las Vegas next Wednesday, so perhaps the announcement will be made there. I am working on getting more details, as well as screenshots of the service. 

The biggest clue about Skype’s pending iPhone launch came when iSkoot decided to move on from its Skype-centric strategy. The company had been offering a client that allowed cell phone users to use Skype services. Skype already offers a Windows Mobile version of its client.

As I’ve said before, Skype will have to turn to mobile to keep its growth intact. In recent months, many services, among them Truphone and Nimbuzz, started supporting Skype in their communication clients. However, a standalone Skype client would get a lot of traction among the Skype faithful. In the meantime, I think Skype is slowly flexing its muscles and swatting away little VoIP players with some of its recent moves.

55 Responses to “Skype for iPhone to Be Released as Early as Next Week”

  1. Simon Tetlow

    I have one of the wifi Skype phones, great no matter whereever you are and no need to be connected to a ‘puter anymore. But if Skype would come out with a phone that supported browser-based authentication, then you could actually make proper use of it in all those places where connection is dependent upon a log-in. Without a browser it’s pretty much u/s.

  2. It’s about time. I have Skype on a mobile phone and it’s fantastic. Perfect for long distance calls to my girlfriend, and useful for getting cheaper calls to friends. Surprising that Apple (or Skype) haven’t gone for this in a bigger way.

  3. James Body

    It wil be interesting to see the final form of this client.

    Will it be a full ‘native’ VoIP client, i.e. able to make VoIP calls directly over an IP connection, or will it utilise the iSkoot-like PSTN backend that requires the ‘up’ link to be made over a GSM voice channel?

    The latter is much easier to engineer and is much less sensitive with the MNOs (as they still generate some revenue on each call).

  4. Pier-François Desrosiers

    Well… The point of having Skype on your iPhone is that you can make INTERNATIONAL calls with the LOCAL minutes of your AT&T voice plan!

  5. Great news!!

    IPhone is a great device….the only thing that is missing is …Skype….. It would be extremely helpful….especially when traveling (which I do) all the time…finally I would be able to reduce my roaming expenses.. :)

    • Absolutely. I think Om is right about Skype swatting the little guys. I can’t see how the likes of Fring/Truephone etc will survive when faced with this. Skype have the power to send a lot of these little players into bankruptcy.

  6. Good point above about AT&T: it could impact their phone call sales with the iPhone, so they can’t be overly happy with this development. I doubt they’d actively block it, unless they want a lot of angry members.

  7. Hey i have a question PLease answer me .
    I want to buy an i phone here in belgium but here it is 599 dollar for the phone.
    My question is do i wait for e new i phone?
    Or wil that be tooo long before it hits the shelves???????

    can anybody please answer or mail me .???

    [email protected]


  8. Peter Koch Palshøj

    Great – so will this also work for the Ipod Touch ?? That would turn it into a phone and make my (and many others) life a bit easier.

  9. antonioj

    Nimbuzz skype call quality is WAY better than fring´s…and its also a multimessenger client…

    Frankly…without having multitasking, i don´t see how i would choose a specific Skype client versus Nimbuz that supports Skype, MSN, google talk, facebook, yahoo, etc…

    • >>Does anyone still use Skype? Seems like it’s too little too late?<<

      You’re right, their userbase is only a paltry 405 million. Hardly worth them going to the office in the morning really ;)

    • A comment from someone who appears to have never used Skype. Our office ditched Bellsouth’s business telephone service a year ago, and we are saving $400 per month by using Skype to make calls to regular telephone numbers. Call quality over Skype is _better_ than Bellsouth’s call quality.

    • I still use Skype a lot. I find it very convenient when I am working on my computer, which seems to be a lot of my time. I hate to get a call on my land line or cell while I am working.

      I find the quality to exceed either of my other phones. I don’t know why anyone would not use Skype.

  10. UK already has 3G-based Skype phone. Quality is spotty, but it works, and is dead cheap. Bought one just to have to call home, make and take business calls, etc. when in UK. Can call local UK numbers, but kind of high pay-as-you-go rates (can get cheaper monthly, if you’re in the UK and making in-country calls, which Skype won’t do).

    • Yes, the US carriers are the block to innovation in mobile, they maintain control of the distribution network for phones and they generally will not sell phones that will turn them into a bitpipe. IMHO the writing is on the wall for them, once reliable wifi or even wimax blankets metro areas (which comcast will also be trying to block) then why would you bother with the phone company. As long as it’s more economical to lobby against change in this county, like the car, cable, mobile, and energy industries the US will continue to be an infrastructure laggard.

    • The audio quality problem with Fring is not in your hardware or connection. The problem is that from your device, the audio is transferred to Fring-servers, and from Fring-servers to the Skype-network. So the audio has to travel twice.

      And I assume that the Fring hack recodes the audio, loosing addtional quality. But that is just my assumption.

      • It is against the terms of service to make internet calls over the AT&T network, so you’ll have to access a wifi signal to make/receive calls. Kind of like having an ipod touch, I guess. But if you’re in a decent-sized city, you can’t go five steps without finding a signal. And some cities are completely “wired” for wifi. Hooray for little beams going through our brains 24 hours a day!

      • And, since apps can’t run in the background on iphones, you’d have to leave Skype open and not let your phone go to sleep to receive unexpected calls. We’re not quiiiiiite there yet, pals.

  11. charlie

    If skype for the iphones uses the same carrier friendly deal as skype for symbian (i.e. using regular cell minutes for calls) it isn’t going to make much headway.

    the skype leadership seems overly focused on “presence” and less on voip. Granted, VOIP is probably a bad word for investors but it is what skype does.