Skype to come to iPhone and Blackberry

Skype, the Internet telephone unit of eBay Inc., is planning to launch its service for iPhone users on Tuesday and for BlackBerry in May as part of its effort to expand beyond desktop computers.

Skype has been pushing to make its service work on the most popular advanced phones with an aim to expending its more than 400 million users who were mostly lured by the promise of cheap and sometimes free calls made using its computer application.

Skype Chief Operating Officer Scott Durchslag said he has high hopes for the application's success on Apple's popular iPhone as he expects Skype's most feature-rich mobile offering to appeal to new and existing customers.

"The No. 1 request we get from customers is to make Skype available on iPhone. There's a pent-up demand," Mr. Durchslag said in an interview before the CTIA annual mobile showcase in Las Vegas, where Skype plans to launch the service on Tuesday.

In May it will launch Skype for Research In Motion's BlackBerry devices, which popularized mobile e-mail. It has already announced Skype for Nokia phones and for phones based on Android, Google Inc.'s mobile system, and Windows Mobile, from Microsoft Corp.

CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said the new applications give Skype a chance to boost its mobile phone position, which has been weaker than that of social sites such as Facebook, Twitter or News Corp.'s MySpace.

One of Skype's unusual iPhone features is the fact that it allows subscribers use to the phone numbers in their existing iPhone address book so they do not need duplicate lists.

"Whether you're Twitter, MySpace or Facebook you want to be embedded in the address book," Mr. Wood said. "This puts Skype firmly into the game."

Skype's iPhone application will be free to download and will allow free calls between Skype users. As with Skype on the desktop, fees will be charged for calls to traditional phones.

The service will also work on later versions of Apple's latest iPod Touch device, which has Wi-Fi links but no cellular connection. The iPod Touch launched September, 2008, has a microphone, unlike the first iPod Touch launched in 2007.

While Skype video is very popular with desktop customers, Mr. Durchslag said that the company is still considering whether it will offer video for the iPhone or other phones.

"We're considering video carefully but we have a really high bar on the quality," and how the user interaction will work with other applications on iPhone, he said. "If we do it we will have to do it incredibly well."

CCS's Wood said that if Skype can replicate the popularity of its desktop video feature on the cellphone it would help a mobile category that has been slow to take off, as well as boost its own status in cellphones.

"I'm firmly convinced that if Skype could find a way to bridge all those cellphone cameras and laptop cameras it might kick start a video telephony opportunity," he said.

While mobile Skype has been available for some time in other countries such as the United Kingdom, it has been slow to catch on in the United States partly due to carrier concern that it would cannibalize their phone call revenue.

In the United States for example, AT&T Inc. has had a monopoly on calls made from iPhones, as it is the exclusive carrier here.

But Wood said that Skype has actually shown that it can boost consumer spending on cellphones as it encourages use of the phones for other services such as data.

For example he said that its success on networks such as 3, owned by Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., suggests that carrier fears have been unfounded.

"The only area where I think there are some question mark is that it could erode roaming revenues," he said, noting that some consumers particularly in Europe hesitate to use their phones while outside of their carrier territory because of notoriously high roaming fees.

"The carriers will be suspicious of this service but what we've learned from other markets is that [Skype] did not have the detrimental effect feared," he said.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas
footballChelsea vs West Ham live kicks off coverage of all 10 of Boxing Day matches
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Java Developer

    £30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Java Developer is requ...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all