Unlimited long distance for $3/month on your iPhone/iPod Touch?

Skype leads the way to VOIP!

I received this in mail by one of my friend and I am posting it as it was.

Turn your iPod Touch into a fully functional mobile wifi phone!

Skype has finally arrived to iPhone and iPod Touch, and boy does it have some good things to offer. In this article I will take a deeper look at how Skype works on mobile devices. It has it’s revolutionary innovation but not without some short falls.

This news is most exciting to the iPod Touch community. Since the second generation Touches come with a microphone input, using an adapter (search ebay for “iphone headset adapter 2.5mm 3.5mm”), you can use any cellphone headset to turn your iPod Touch into a fully functional “mobile” phone. No need to jailbreak or do anything complicated.

“But won’t I just be able to only talk to other Skype users? Is this just one of those text-messaging things that only half works?”

This time it’s the real thing. You can make phone calls, receive them, have a “real” number that people can call from regular phones, voicemail and a sexy British operator asking people to leave you a message.

So first things first, how do I get this up and running?

Go to the Apple App store and download the Skype app.

Register for a Skype account online, and check out their Subscription options. Here is what you will need to buy:

*       Unlimited US/Canada subscription - $2.95/month (no contract)

*       Personal online number - $30/year (you get $30 off if you do a monthly subscription)

Log into your Skype app, and now you can make phone calls to real phones and receive them whenever you are around WiFi! How cool is that?

How is the quality? Does it really work? Is there a delay?

I've tested this extensively, and the quality is superb. The delay is unnoticable, and if the network is too slow, it will decrease the call quality, but not the speed at which the voice is sent. The bandwidth required is pretty minimal, so you should be fine on almost any DSL connection, even if you're downloading something.

In fact, this works so well that I've replaced my long-distance plan with iPod Touch and Skype.

Unlike previous apps like Fring, Skype has a solid network infrastructure, so the servers are never overloaded. Skype's technology is that the users actually help each other with bandwidth loads, so the more people are using Skype, the better the network is.

Is this a cell phone replacement?

No. This only works around WiFi wireless internet hotspots. You can use it at your friend's place or at an internet cafe. This can't be relied on in cases of emergency, though it is technically a "mobile" phone.

What are the shortcomings?

*       You can't receive voicemail unless you're at a computer. The Skype app for iPhone/iPod Touch does not allow you to receive voicemail, though you will get an email notification telling you that someone left a message with their number. I talked to Skype support and they said that they are working on this for the future releases.

*       The Skype app has to be running to receive phone calls. This is most problematic because Apple iPhone OS doesn't allow applications to run in the background, thus it will turn off after a few minutes when the device goes to sleep. Background capability will be coming with OS 3.0 this summer.

*       If someone called you and your device was off, you do not see the missed call notification.

*       No video chat. Skype for PC/Mac supports video chat. This does not work on iPhone.

*       Skype won't run on 3G or Edge networks. Apple's agreement with AT&T doesn't allow VOIP applications to use the cellular networks. You will need to use WiFi.


Overall, this is an amazing leap of technology. Though WiFi phones and Skype have been around for a while, having it on the iPhone OS with such a superb stability is something else. With an iPod Touch you can now have a true "mobile" phone capabilities, and with an iPhone you can reduce your phone bill around WiFi hot spots. Way to go Skype!


No comments: