Skype to hit mobile phones this year

At the Voice On the Net (VON) conference in Toronto, Skype Technologies co-founder and CEO Niklas Zennstrom reported that a mobile version of Skype will be available this year.

Skype is a free global telephony application that allows for VoIP communications, it currently runs on Mac OSX, Windows and Pocket PC, Skype plans to release a version for Embedded Linux, Symbian or Windows Mobile devices later this year.

“We will encourage hardware manufacturers to deploy Skype on their devices.” said Zennstrom. SkypeMobile for mobile devices (our unofficial name for the new Skype) will be targeted to hardware manufacturers for integration into new dual-mode (GPRS + WiFi) mobile devices once made available to carriers. Our guess is that whichever manufacturer will adopt Skype first is the platform SkypeMobile will be released for.

Regulatory issues may slow Skypes deployment down, large telecommunication companies have huge pull when it comes to communication regulations. They earn billions of dollars each year from long distance calls, they also pay the government millions more in taxes each year. According to Zennstrom these companies will be the last ones to continue charging for long distance communications on a per call basis while other companies have started offering flat-rate services.

It may be hard convincing a manufacturer to allow Skype to be put on their device and be available right out of the box, the carriers will bitch and complain that it will cut their airtime revenues. Besides, what will stop them from removing the software once its in their hands? We know sneaky stuff like this has happened before.


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