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Skype: No Palm Pre App for Now

skype_logoWhen Skype (s ebay) launched its mobile app on the iTunes App (s aapl) store in March, it quickly rose to the top of the charts, indicating that people had been thirsting for a mobile version of the Internet phone service. Meanwhile, INQ Mobile, a company that makes web-centric budget phones, has seen solid usage of Skype on its handsets. And why not? With 443.2 million subscribers using the service to make long-distance calls on the cheap, Skype qualifies as a king-maker. At the same time, Skype, which is eying an IPO, sees mobile devices as a way to goose up its revenue.

So when Palm (s palm) released its much-awaited Pre device, we wondered if a Skype app would soon find its way into Palm’s app store, too, especially since the addition of a Skype app would make the Pre more attractive in an already crowded smartphone space. But according to a Skype spokesman, the company doesn’t have any plans to develop a Skype app for the Palm Pre. According to a statement sent via email:

“We are focused on delivering the best Skype experience for mobile consumers that we can, across any cell phone or mobile operating system. If someone has a cell phone, we want them to be able to use Skype on it. That’s our vision and we’ve already delivered new mobile applications for Windows Mobile, Java-enabled cell phones, Android-powered devices and the iPhone in the first half of 2009. As things are evolving quickly in this space, we will continue to keep our eye on Palm’s Pre and webOS platform, which seems to be getting good traction in its first weekend. But we have nothing to announce at this time.”

In other words, Skype, like many others, is sitting on the fence while it waits for Palm Pre’s webOS to become a legitimate platform.

36 Responses to “Skype: No Palm Pre App for Now”

  1. Hi Jennifer,

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  2. Mobile Developer

    Based on all of the reviews the best skype client is for windows mobile. Honestly, I am not sure why this is, it is just simply the best for the obvious reasons of functionality and reliability.

  3. jabberwolf

    oh please Skype!

    “Java-enabled cell phones”
    All you need is a java based App for the Pre.

    A few modifications!
    If they wanted to do this, it would take a month at most.

  4. You have to look at this more broadly — Skype’s reason isn’t just because the Pre is new, but because of a deeper (as yet, to me, inexplicable) dislike for Palm as a company. Just do a quick Google search for Palm and Skype, and you will see countless requests over the past 4-5 years of people BEGGING Skype to make a version for Palm (they made one for Windows Mobile, which had much less market share than Palm at the time it was produced). Third-party companies have attempted to get around this by making their own clients, but none actually let you make Skype-to-Skype calls (though you can use SkypOut).

    The question is — what has Skype as a company have against Palm, and why is that antipathy so intense that they would forgo an entire market for their product?

    Whatever the reason is, don’t buy a Pre thinking you’ll get Skype…

  5. The Pre is dead but people don’t know it yet.

    Before the announcement of the Pre, Palm had a share price of less than two dollars. Bono (from U2) had to inject 450 million dollars to keep Palm afloat. Developers aren’t going to invest in a platform that has the smallest installed base in a barely afloat company married to the weakest of the cell phone companies (Sprint has the fewest subscribers).

    Developers are focusing on Blackberry (Curve is the #1 smartphone), Android (18 Android phones out this year!), Windows Mobile (on tens of millions of phones), iPhone (on 40 million units including iTouch). Not to mention Palm has almost no money. Developers will take a wait and see approach before investing in the Pre, they already have 4 other platforms to support which are far more established (ie: they can make a LOT more money right away in) than the Pre platform (read about 100,000 owners).

    Secondly, Pre is late to the game. Nobody will buy a laptop without programs. Consumers aren’t going to buy a smartphone that has no apps. Last count Pre had 18 WebOS apps. A smartphone without apps is basically a dumb feature phone with internet.

    Ok lastly Palm a barely afloat company is going up against Google (Android), RIM (Blackberry), Microsoft (Windows mobile) and Apple (iPhone). Those last four companies have vastly more cash on hand to market their product. The only reason why the Pre is getting all this attention with their disappointing sales figures is that the media is trying to increase readership (iPhone 3G sold over 1 million units in its first 3 days, Palm hasn’t officially released their numbers. Why? Its obviously disappointingly low).

    Its Economics 101.

    • @Mike – Not to make it sound like you don’t know what you are talking about. But I’m pretty sure you got your 18 app count from the WWDC keynote. Because if you did know what you were talking about you would know that was the launch number and has since almost doubled.

    • Obviously the stock holders don’t know it’s dead yet either. I put $200 into Palm right after the Pre was announced, and just pulled $375 out. Oh, and it seems to be quite alive and well for me in my day-to-day use of it too.

      Sure it only has 30 third-party apps a whole *month* after launch (gasp!). Now please tell everyone how many third-party apps the iPhone had a month… or two… or four… after launch? For some reason, I inexplicably think of a goose egg when I’m contemplating this figure. Palm hasn’t released the SDK to the public yet, but they already have the beta out to some developers. Apple took almost six months to get the beta out, and then another four or so to release it publicly. Palm is stating that they expect to have the SDK in the public’s hands by the “end of summer” — worst case scenario, it’s STILL in developers’ hands in a shorter span of time than Apple got the iPhone SDK released even in beta form.

      Why were the iPhone’s sales numbers so great? Because it had the market to itself, and it’s Apple. If people wanted a smartphone that was sleek and easy to use, there was only one answer, and it was the iPhone. Not to mention all the Apple geeks out there who bought it just because it was a phone and it was made by Apple — I have nothing against them, but they’re still a large part of the market, and probably accounted for a significant number of the early sales figures — business and casual users aren’t going to be the early adopters of any technology, it will always be the geeks and technophiles. Now, the Pre is entering a nearly-saturated market, and it’s *still* making waves, even if it’s not posting mind-boggling sales numbers.

  6. I’d love a VoIP app for the Pre because I have limited cell signal from my home.
    If my DID (Direct incoming dial – ie: my business phone number) could be routed to a SIP client on my cell phone,
    I could stay on top of business much easier from home. Less hours in the office would ease the stress on my hectic life and then some…

  7. I have purchased a Pre and since it is Sprint, having a Skype type program would be very useful. When? When I travel outside of the US. Generally I don’t have a need for making lots of local calls, but it would be nice to call home occasionally. If you could connect via WIFI at a coffee shop or especially in Airport Land, that would make it a kind of world phone.

    • Forget about using Skype or any other data based program using WIFI or the Sprint system outside the US on the Palm Pre unless you have an international data plan. I speak from experience. Data usage is EXTREMELY expensive outside the US, even just from Canada. According to Sprint data usage is hard to separate from talk minutes on the Pre as it is such a data based phone.

    • Aside from my comments above the Pre is one incredible smartphone. Easy to use multi apps with a keyboard is an iPhone killer IMO. The internal hardware is built with the most expensive state of the art components. It shows and the OS is great. Very fast in comparison, flexible, easy to use. I wish the keyboard was a little larger but then the phone wouldn’t fit so easily in my pocket, so I am willing to live with this. The only missing ingredient at this time is more apps but the main ones are there and more are coming. Look at how long it took to get apps for the iPhone, and Palm is moving faster. Do not believe the fear mongers. This phone beats iPhone and Crackberry, at much lower usage cost on the Sprint network, which I have had no problem using. Palm is back in the game with the Pre. Watch out for the next version. If they add video and a qwerty screen pad it’s seriously gonna kill.

  8. I doubt allowing Skype on their platform early would improve their relationships with carriers. They are just getting started. Until massive adoption, that is when VoIP apps can jump on board.

    • Mike Cerm

      I wouldn’t be so sure. There will be plenty of opportunities for developers to profit from the Pre, even with the limitations of the Mojo SDK. I just think Skype is hesitant because the market for a phone inside a phone is pretty small to begin with, not to mention a lot of Pre owners have unlimited cell minutes anyway.

      • Skype has always given the finger to Palm users, and this is no exception. There is more to Skype not supporting Pre than any limitations of the SDK. If they did it for iPhones and window mobile why not Pre. The whole point of Skype is to use VoIP and if there were no interest on “a phone inside a phone” then the downloads for iPhones and Windows Mobile would be low, and they are not.

  9. It seems, from reading about WebOS development, that its basis on web standards is hobbling it for robust app development. I feel like this is going to be biggest point of distinction between Palm’s smartphones and its rivals’ phones. HTML, Javascript and so on are well and good for web apps, but there are some things web apps are limited for.

    • Mike Cerm

      I would agree with you, except Skype is a really bad example of an app that can’t be done on the Pre, because it could be done, if Skype actually wanted to do it.

      I’d love to see Skype on the Pre, but I don’t think there’s really any demand for it. Why bother with Skype when you can get Sprint’s Simply Everything plan for $99/month and talk all you want that way? It’s only a $20 premium over the minimum plan the Pre requires. Sure, Skype would be great for international callers and the tech-savvy people who want to save $15/month, but I think that most people who need a lot of talk time would just pay for the unlimited minutes.

      • Taylor Harris

        I use Skype on my iPod Touch when I am over seas to call the states. I am unable to do this with my Blackberry (Sprint) since Sprint decided to disable WIFI on the Curve edition for their network. If the Pre had a Skype app I would happily drop the Curve and move over.

  10. Gilman

    Your words
    “doesn’t have any plans to develop a Skype app for the Palm Pre”
    contradicts the quote
    “we will continue to keep our eye on Palm’s Pre and webOS platform”

    • actually it doesn’t/

      it is clear they have no plans for now to do anything for Pre because they don’t know if it is a viable platform as yet. the second comment is what you would expect a PR person to say. No company is ever going to publicly say: never ever. :-)

  11. Not unusual, IMO. How long did it take them to get a iPhone app? How long for WM? For RIM? Years! If we see a webOS app by year end it would be a miracle, IMO.