Verizon BlackBerry, Android Phones Ring Up Skype This Week

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We knew that today would bring some news from Verizon and Skype — the companies just held a joint event at the CTIA show announcing Skype Mobile availability. This partnership actually formed last month but the details are filling in just today. Starting this Thursday, March 25, nine initial Verizon 3G handsets will support the exclusive Skype mobile client including those on the BlackBerry and Android platforms. The first nine are the BlackBerry Storm 9530, Storm2 9550, Curve 8330, Curve 8530, 8830 World Edition, and Tour 9630, as well as the Motorola Droid, Devour and HTC Eris. The software will appear in Android Market and be pushed to the Downloads folder of BlackBerry devices on Thursday. It can be grabbed by texting “SKYPE” to 2255 for the download link or by hitting Skype’s mobile page at http://www.skype.com/mobile/

Russ Shaw, general manager of Mobile for Skype, summarizes the news:

“Skype mobile will deliver an unparalleled experience for Verizon Wireless customers. It will be the best way to enjoy unlimited conversations with Skype contacts all over the world at no extra cost. In addition, Skype mobile will allow people to easily and inexpensively make calls to landlines and mobiles abroad at Skype rates.”

Once installed, customers get free unlimited Skype-to-Skype calls and chat, neither activity counts against data or voice minute limits. Interestingly, Verizon will route all Skype voice calls over its standard voice circuit switches to insure the quality of service. This means the app won’t work over Wi-Fi and if you try to make SkypeOut calls, they will count against your minutes or your Skype credits. After signing in, the application runs in the background for presence purposes and to receive Skype calls or chats at any time. I assume that you can log out and shut down the application to save battery life or show as offline. Verizon says that phone contacts can be merged with Skype mobile for a single list of contacts for calling or instant messaging.

Verizon said that additional BlackBerry and Android devices gain the client as the handsets are added to the network. That, of course, begs the question about the Nexus One which is coming to Verizon soon. Will Skype mobile only officially work with or be offered on Nexus One phones on Verizon’s network?

Image courtesy of Skype

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Could Skype in Your Pocket Beat the iPod Touch?

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