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February 17, 2009

Skype to be integrated into Nokia devices

by snoyt

Latest annoucement on Nokia Conversations is that Skype is to be integrated into Nokia devices.

"Kicking off with the Nokia N97, Skype will be part of the address book in the device, enable users to easily see when their Skype contacts are online. It’ll also enable them to use 3G and WiFi to make and receive free Skype to Skype voice calls.

Skype will be rolled out on other devices after the Nokia N97 goes live in the third quarter. New Nokia N97 devices will have it pre-installed, whilst early versions will be able to get it through a software upgrade. Other select Nseries devices are also likely to come with integrated Skype functionality which includes Skype contacts, Chat, VoIP and Presence.

With Skype a popular and secure voip service this should be a welcome addition to many users.  However Skype does use closed protocols and more important. On the PC it uses part of the bandwidth of your internet connection to route other peoples calls. Wether Skype is going to be implemented like this on your Nokia is a good question since many mobile users still pay a premium price per internet byte transmitted. Another issue is that phone batteries have a already limited capacity.  Playing routing node for othre Skype users can take a hefty chunk of your battery life. Particular in more remote locations.

Another possibility is the iSkoot implementation, where it only sends chat messages over your mobile internet. Voice calls are forwarded through local lines and from there forwarded over the internet to the receiver. Where in case of another mobile Skype user, the call is forwarded from internet via a call to your mobile phone at your (Skype) expenses.

Also there is no mention of video calling support. Current videocalling prices are absurdly high and thus mostly unused. Cheap/free videocalling would be a major reason for many users to start using the service in the first place. Without video support Skype has nothing to extra to offer to the already available VOIP and IM options on your mobile phone.

SIP and Jabber are open standards that are available on most of Nokia's N-series devices for voice and chat, allowing users of Yahoo, Google, Gizmo and a lot of other services to chat and call each other for free as well as make calls to regular phones for a small fee. Where as Skype, like MSN, is only VOIP talking to itself.

Still Skype is a very popular service and many will welcome the opportunity to use it as a integrated service from their mobile phone.The particulars of the Skype implementation will no doubt determine its succes.


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Nokia wifi users can already call Skype users (for free, although limited to 5 minutes) using Gizmo5 as a conduit.


snoyt here: True, I forgot. But I find Fring, Gizmo5 and even truphone often lacking in call quality. Though not always it being their fault.


It's a very interesting development, especially for those that have been taking a keen interest on what Hutch 3G have been doing with Skype.

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