Nokia Skips to Skype
Nokia said Feb. 17 it plans to package an integrated Skype voice over IP
client with the company's flagship N series smartphone devices. Skype will
first be incorporated into the Nokia N97 phone by the third quarter of this
year. Nokia and Skype made the announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona,
Nokia N97 users will be available to use 3G and WLAN (wireless LAN) to make and receive Skype-to-Skype voice calls, which are free, in addition to low-cost Skype calls to landlines and mobile devices. In addition, Nokia and Skype will make the software dynamic, allowing users to see other Skype users that are online and to also use instant messaging.
"Making Skype available everywhere through mobile devices is essential to fulfilling our vision of 'enabling the world's conversations,'" Skype CEO Scott Durchslag said in a statement. "Collaborating closely with Nokia to preload and integrate our software onto their devices will benefit the many Nokia customers who already use Skype, as it makes Skype easily accessible and simple to use on the go. It will also bring Skype new users who love Nokia's Symbian S60 experience."
According to Durchslag, Skype, which is owned by eBay, is in the process of designing the user interface for the Nokia N series of phones. He also said the application code is still in development.
"With more than 400 million Skype users worldwide, the integration of Skype on Nokia N series mobile computers is a significant step in bringing converged Internet experiences from the desktop to the world's most advanced mobile computer," said Nokia N series Vice President Jose-Luis Martinez.
Skype also announced that its VOIP app will be available for the Sony Ericsson Experia X1 by mid-March.
In the United States, Skype is struggling to have its app fully incorporated into mobile devices because carriers fear the VOIP service will cannibalize their own voice services. Even if Nokia and Sony Ericsson manage to persuade a U.S. carrier to use their new phones, the Skype application is likely to be stripped from the devices.
Truphone, on the other hand, has a free app at iTunes that allows iPod Touch owners to turn their device into a mobile phone using Skype with a Wi-Fi connection. Truphone also offers Skype functionality for iPhones.
VOIP provider Jajah introduced a white-label solution for carriers and noncarriers alike to brand and market a Touch-into-an-iPhone service. Jajah's service includes the application itself, in addition to a suite of management services, from termination of the calls and quality control through billing and processing payments in 200 countries around the world.