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Skype Mobile Status Update

Monday, October 30, 2006

Jim Courtney provides us with his thorough analysis of the current state of Skype on mobile devices. Here are his criteria for evaluating the overall user experience:
As a guideline for user simplicity, I look for an experience where I can (i) easily "ping" a contact and enter text for a chat session and (ii) simply access a (Skype) Contact or dial a number to make a voice call - an experience that has a minimal installation and learning curve for the user public; an experience that will readily gain broad market acceptance.
So if you're wondering which device provides the best overall Skype experience, Jim has ranked them in the following order:
  1. Sony Mylo
  2. Dell Axim X50v
  3. Nokia N-series
  4. Blackberry™
  5. SMC Skype WiFi
However, each device does have its faults. For instance, the Mylo has no cellular phone capability. Skype on the Axim has a different volume than a regular call. Since the Nokia phones didn't have QWERTY keyboards, text chatting was made more cumbersome. The Blackberry™ requires Skype to be running on a host PC, and the Skype WiFi phones don't support text instant messaging.

Yet the technology is still young. One possible reason for this lack of development is that making low-cost or free calls with Skype doesn't interest mobile phone manufacturers enough to build proper support for it. One way to change their minds is for enough consumers to demand it from their cellular carriers, which run the racket on the features included on the phones. Another way would be for Skype itself to throw tons of money behind the development efforts of the phone manufacturers, although admittedly that cannot compare to the power of the telecoms.

Still, the future looks bright:
Skype France Managing Director JéromeArchambeaud recently revealed in a French videocast panel discussion that Skype and Nokia will introduce a WiFi-enabled GSM phone before year end.
If you haven't already done so, go read Jim's article for all the details.


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