Nokia is the latest company to promote the availability of Skype voice over IP services, announcing on its blog March 3 that the application can now be downloaded free from its Ovi Store and is compatible with the latest version of Symbian.
The application enables users to make free Skype-to-Skype calls, receive calls to an existing Skype number, send and receive instant messages, as well as files, and to see when other Skype users are online. Nokia said it will work over WiFi or a mobile data connection.
"With Skype for Nokia smartphones, more than 200 million smartphone users worldwide will be able to take the Skype features they love with them on the move," said Russ Shaw, Skype general manager of mobile, said in a statement.
"Making Skype available direct to consumers will help millions of users to keep in contact with the people that are important to them without worrying about the cost, distance, or whether they are away from a computer," Shaw continued.
On Feb. 17, Verizon Wireless announced that in March it would make a Skype app available to customers with data plans and handsets running the BlackBerry or Android operating systems. Verizon additionally announced that the VOIP service would be allowed to run over its 3G network, in addition to WiFi.
A Skype app for the Apple iPhone is also in the works and can be expected, Skype announced on its site in earle February, "soon."
The iPhone app, which would also have the option of running on AT&T's 3G network, is so far delayed, Skype said, until it can get it just right - offering "CD-quality sound," as well as tools such as a call-quality indicator, to offer feedback and allow users know exactly what's going on with their calls.
Nokia believes that the Skype offering will drive new traffic to the Ovi Store, which it launched in May as its answer to the Apple App Store. Called a "smart store," Ovi learns users' preferences as they shop, and can show them inventory based on their location - or even what their friends bought.
"We're seeing around 1.5 million downloads a day through Ovi Store now and believe that the Skype client for Nokia smartphones increases the amount of downloads further," said Jo Harlow, Nokia's SVP for smartphones.
The Skype application is currently available on handsets including the Nokia N97 and Nokia 6210 Navigator. A complete list of compatible models is available at the Nokia blog.
On March 2, Nokia introduced the C5, a smartphone on a feature phone budget, and new naming guidelines, to help us mere mortals translate the letter and number combinations in its devices' names. Going forward, it will offer Cseries, Xseries, Eseries and Nseries handsets, each with a number between one and nine, with nine denoting the most advanced capabilities.