Skype officially made it’s debut in the iTunes Application Store recently. To say it was a highly anticipated application would be the understatement of the year. Some reports have indicated that the application was downloaded over a million times in the first two days it was available, approximately one download every six seconds to put it in perspective.
What’s so special about Skype? If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service. It’s major claim to fame is it’s ability to allow users to call one another on their computers for free anywhere in the world. Skype can also be used to dial landline phones all over the globe for incredibly cheap phone rates. Calls to mobile phones can be made as well, but outside of the US and Canada, calls to mobile phones elsewhere costs a little more than calling a landline.
Well now that Skype has officially made their debut on the iPhone and iPod Touch, now there’s another avenue for making calls from these devices. In the case of the iPod Touch (2nd Generation only due to the 1st Generation not having microphone support) it brings the ability to make phone calls over a Wi-Fi network to a device not designed to make calls. I decided to pick up one of Apple’s headphones with a built in microphone that’s supports the recording ability the iPod Touch supports and give it a try.
Short of buying an iPhone, I’m quite pleased to report I am now able to make calls from my iPod, so long as I’m near a Wi-Fi connection. The iPhones get a little bit more connectivity in that the text chat feature will work over 3G networks, EDGE networks, and Wi-Fi networks. Although the voice call feature for iPhone still needs to be done on a Wi-Fi network only at this point. I’m sure its for sound quality reasons.
The application when connected to an existing Skype account, will not only allow the iPhone or iPod user to access their Skype contacts, but the built in dialer meant to call more traditional phones will allow access to the iPod and iPhone’s contact library so that the user isn’t limited to his or her Skype contact list.
One of the best deals around is Skype’s plan called “Skype Pro” and it comes in two flavors. The $3 a month plan allows Sype users originating in the US and Canada to have unlimited dialing to regular phones anywhere in the US and Canada. Quite a handy feature as my only phone is my cellphone so now I can make calls from my iPod Touch during peak hours and that’s especially handy for calling family members back in Canada without having to pay for pay international phone charges to my cellphone carrier. The $10 a month Skype Pro plan opens up free calling to landlines all over the world. What a bargain.
It’s probably best to establish a Skype account online first, then add access to your account from your iPhone or iPod Touch. A neat way to add a secondary phone service to the world’s most popular mobile phone. Visit Skype.com or the App Store within iTunes for more details.