Posts Tagged ‘Skype’

Skype on your telly! Might be time to upgrade

500x_lgskypecontactlistWith today’s news, I can see myself upgrading my 37 inch 1080p HD television a lot sooner than I planned. Skype announced today that the VoIP/video conferencing service is coming to Internet-connected TVs. Combine this with Internet widgets and online video-capability, and my relatively modern TV will soon look a bit long in the tooth.

Both TV manufacturers will be offering sets with Skype software and support for all the stand features that we’ve come to love – voicemail, land-line and mobile calls via Skype-in and Skype-out, free Skype-to-Skype calls, video calling etc. On the hardware front, users will need to purchase and plug in one of the soon-to-be-available 720p web cams that will feature “microphones specifically designed to pick up sound at couch distance”, reports Gizmodo. Now that does sounds cool, although I’m not sure why they can’t come built-in.

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iPhone app is no big deal but Skype's ubiquity is

The tech blogosphere is buzzing with the news that an official Skype application for Apple’s iPhone will be made available tomorrow. But, as the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones rightly asks, is it such a big deal?

Firstly, it isn’t the first time Skype on iPhone (or iPod touch) has been possible, with a number of third-party apps already filling the void.

Secondly, while Skype calling is available to mobiles and landlines not just other devices running Skype, they’re only possible over WiFi not 3G, so as to appease Apple’s carrier partners.

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Hands-on review: INQ1 a.k.a. the 'Facebook phone'

Over the last week I’ve been playing with the INQ1, the so-called ‘Facebook phone’. Designed by the same team behind mobile carrier 3’s original “Skype Phone” (see last100’s coverage), like its predecessor, this fairly nondescript 3G candy bar slider masks plenty of innovation on the software side.

Integrated into the handset, for example, is Facebook, Skype and Windows Live Messenger, along with various widgets, such as Yahoo Weather. Just don’t call it a smartphone, says the company. Instead, the INQ1 is billed as a low cost device, designed to appeal to a broader and, perhaps, younger market than existing smartphones from the likes of Apple, RIM, Nokia and HTC.

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Nokia and Skype partnership has carriers in a fit

It’s always interesting to see the politics of business play out through leaks in the media, and I suspect that in the case of Nokia and its mobile carrier “partners” we haven’t seen the last of it. The Finnish handset maker’s recent announcement of a tie up with Skype has, predictably, rankled two carriers in the UK, reports Mobile Today.

See also: Nokia announces online music store – takes aim at Apple and mobile carriers

Both Orange and O2 are unhappy that a Skype client will be bundled with Nokia’s upcoming N97 and are threatening to boycott the device and the company’s future Skype-enabled phones, for fear that including the application will further reduce their role to that of being a “dumb pipe”. According to Mobile Today’s source:

“This is another example of them trying to build an ecosystem that is all about Nokia and reduces the operator to a dumb pipe. Some people like 3 may be in a position where it could make sense to accept that. But if you spend upwards of £40m per year building your brand, you don’t want to be just a dumb pipe do you?

Nokia have tried several ways to own the customer over the years and operators have had to say no.”

Owning the customer, of course, is something that Apple has managed to achieve, and which 02 seems to have accepted in return for iPhone exclusivity here in the UK. Nokia, with its aggressive move into providing various web services (music subscriptions, maps, email, IM and social networking) is also trying to have a more direct relationship with the customer, presumably hoping that said services will help lock them into a continuous cycle of Nokia handset upgrades. At the same time, both companies, like any handset maker, need the carriers to stay on side so that they’ll continue to subsidize and market their wares. That seems like a conflict of interest if there ever was one, and I can’t see the issue being resolved any time soon.

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Through its own mobile client, Skype is now available on about 50 cellphones

For the first time Skype is offering its own mobile client to make phone calls over its popular VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) service.

The Skype client is an open beta (available here) and is expected to work with about 50 handsets from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. Other phones may work if they support Java, the language the client is based on.

It will not work on the iPhone.

“This product is part of our goal to be on as many platforms as possible,” said Wilhelm Lundborg, product manager for Skype Business (via InfoWorld).

All features — chat, group chat, presence, SkypeIn, Skype-to-Skype and SkypeOut calls — work in the U.K., Brazil, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Poland, and Estonia. Elsewhere, the data features and incoming Skype calls work, but the client does not allow outbound calls.

The client allows you to connect a cellphone to your Skype account. It uses cellphone minutes, but adds all your Skype contacts and gives you a mobile presence.

A “Skypephone” has been available by the U.K. carrier 3 since November.