Updated Skype for iPhone 4 Now Available

Skype's updated VOIP app for Apple iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS smartphones running iOS 4 is multitasking-savvy and lets users run Skype in the background, among other features.

Skype has launched Version 2.0.1 of its voice-over-IP software for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS handsets running iOS 4.

Released July 21, the newest version of the application takes advantage of the operating system's multitasking capabilities, enabling users to run Skype in the background, as well as receive Skype calls and instant messages while other applications such as e-mail are running or the phone is locked. Also new-users can continue a Skype call while switching to another application.

Skype's popular VOIP application for iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch allows users to exchange calls and IMs with other Skype users around the world. In addition to using WiFi, calls can also be placed over AT&T's 3G network, though the company said "operator data charges" apply.

Skype competitor Fring also offers VOIP services, and on July 9 introduced an application that lets iPhone 4 owners enjoy two-way video calling over WiFi or 3G networks. The application even works across multiple platforms, so users can call friends with a single-camera iPhone 3GS, or those on phones with Android or Symbian operating systems.

According to Fring, its service also allows Fring users to communicate with friends on third-party networks such as GoogleTalk, SIP, Twitter and Skype. However, recently Skype made its displeasure known by threatening Fring with legal action.

"Skype's anti-competitive ambush comes in the wake of Fring's mobile video calling on iPhone 4 launch," Fring announced July 12, airing the squabble in public. Fring CEO Avi Shechter said in a statement he was "disappointed" that Skype, which once "championed the cause of openness, is now attempting to muzzle the competition."

Given the popularity of these applications, and particularly their new video-messaging capabilities, a number of smartphone manufacturers-such as Apple, Motorola and Samsung-are incorporating second cameras in their handsets.

The updated Skype application is free to download and can be found in the Apple iTunes store.