Ironically, perhaps one of the biggest and last cheers at the show was not for a technological innovation at all but rather the licensing deal Hutchison 3G announced it has struck with Skype.
Both companies said they have begun trailing a bundle in Sweden which offers a flat rate 3G data subscription and preinstalled Skype software. In theory, this means customers will have the same freedom to use Skype as if they were sitting in front of their computer, while Hutchison protects its end with the monthly subscription.
This is certainly an interesting and potentially world changing development as it would eradicate the influence of geography on telephony. Hutchinson also positively emphasised that the inclusion of Skype will not damage it, rather help attract more customers and sell data packages. This is certainly a brave move since networks have been understandably skittish of Skype’s VoIP software until now. Hopefully the Hutchison agreement will force its competitors to reconsider too?
In addition, Skype took time out to announce that it has updated its Pocket PC software to version 2.0 (above). It will be compatible with any smartphone running Windows Mobile Pocket PC 2003 or Windows Mobile 5.0 and is equipped with either internal WiFi or 3G. It will also be preloaded on a number of different handsets including the Asus MyPal GPS PDA, BenQ P50, E-TEN M600, Dopod 700, i-mate PDA2 and PDA2K, JASJAR and Qtek 9000 and 9090.
Any bets on 3 signing up quite a few of these…?