Friday, February 22, 2008

Native Skype for Symbian announced – not by Fring and not by Skype

One thing I heard in Barcelona was that the mobile network operator 3 is not so happy with the 3Skypephone. People are allegedly using it like crazy and 3 is required to install more and more servers from the US startup iSkoot which powers the service. As you remember the 3Skypephone doesn't do mobile VoiP but makes an GSM call from the phone to the 3-iSkoot server, which then cannels them over the fixed line internet to Skype. The data connection is only used to show the presence of the Skype buddies. These iSkoot servers must be quite expensive.

Skype on mobile phones is generally a problem, said Eric Lagier, Business Development Director for Mobile at Skype, last year. A native version exists only for Windows Mobile devices because only they have a strong enough CPU. Symbian users already gave up all hope for a native Skype on their handsets. For more than two years they are waiting for Skype to solve its battery drain and latency problems. Only a prototype was reported in February 2006. Symbian users still have to rely on 3rd party applications like Fring, iSkoot or Mobivox – most of them eat up phone minutes.

But now a real native Skype version for Symbian cell phones will come out, I have been told at the Mobile World Congress. Maybe next week already. It will enable to make Skype calls over 3G and Wifi. The most interesting fact is that this software will NOT be released by Skype and also not by the Israeli software maker Fring, which until now was the only option for a Skype data call. Stay tuned and remember that you read it here first! I am quite excited to see when this rumour will really come true. Unfortunately I cannot tell the name of the company to not ruin their surprise.

1 comment:

  1. this is very interesting if it is indeed a third party skype client like it sounds as opposed to being a VOIP link to a server running an instance of the genuine skype client(like all current services.) that means that this company is the first(or the first to make public) that they have successfully completely reverse engineered skype and have a complete enough knowledge of how it works to develop a client.

    for one this means a likely end to any security benefit that may have existed for skype versus other VOIP.

    more significant if they have developed this symbian client they likely also have the knowledge to develop for the first time a multi channel skype platform that does not require multiple instances of skype. that could mean a whole new generation of integration between skype and other platforms such as standard SIP. why not deploy the same technology to allow skype trunks on hosted PBX platforms?

    p.s. you can add nimbuzz and barablu to the current crop of skype on mobile offerings. of course they both use server side skype instances.


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