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Skype Launches For iPhone

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In all honesty, Skype functionality and compatibility has long been available to iPhone owners across the globe via third party legal and jailbroken applications - but there's nothing like seeing the big cheese of VoIP striding onto the scene...

As predicted, today Skype has launched its official iPhone client through the App Store and it is available to all now and for free. So what's the differentiator?

In truth, not a great deal because the same caveat remains: VoIP calls are restricted to WiFi only with the game changing nature of this communication over 3G still limited to progressive telco 3 and the likes of its Skypephone range. Sure, you can login to the Skype app via EDGE or 3G, send some instant messages and browse contacts but it's not the same.

Despite this however the client is nicely done with instant messaging, contact books, styling which nicely matches that of standard iPhone calls and the in-call design in particular is exceptionally well done.

As for Skype Credit, that's slightly messier redirecting users to the mobile Safari browser to make purchases or top-up. This should change when iPhone OS 3.0 launches this summer as it brings in-application buying.

So overall, it's perfectly functional and nicely implemented but it is something of a shame Skype hasn't shown the stones it displayed with its direct integration into the Nokia N97 and pushed Apple for VoIP over 3G. I'm sure telcos around the world would have something to say about this, but then again the change is inevitable - as is their descent into dumb pipes...

In related news Skype says it will pull the beta tags off its BlackBerry app by May. Something which seems a little ponderous to me given the beta has been doing the rounds since mid 2008.

Update: Interestingly Skype has landed in iTunes at v1.01 already touting 'improved stability and performance'. So it looks like there we bugs early on. As with all apps, expect it to get better with time.

Link:
Skype iTunes Link

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