updated 08:15 am EDT, Mon March 30, 2009
Skype for iPhone Official
Skype today formally launched both iPhone and future BlackBerry versions of its VoIP calling app. The two editions will both support free calls and chat between fellow Skype users as well as calls to or from real-world numbers at Skype's normal paid rates. The service requires Wi-Fi for its voice functions but will consequently let second-generation or later iPod touch owners make calls using an in-line microphone.
The software developer promises both an interface specific to Apple's touchscreen devices as well as specific features. Owners will have access to their own iPhone contact list in addition to their Skype friends; they can also assign photos to contacts and have support for muting calls as well as placing them on speakers. Early versions will require that users launch the web to add more SkypeOut time and will only allow joining conference calls rather than creating them.
Skype hopes its software will be live on the App Store as of Tuesday; the BlackBerry app has received fewer details, but should be available in May.
In addition to restoring some of Skype's features with future updates, company COO Scott Durchslag also hints that the firm is may bring video chat to the iPhone as well as other devices. The implementation would depend on visual quality. "If we do it we will have to do it incredibly well," Durchslag says.
For the iPhone, a video conferencing feature would require a new device with a forward-facing camera as well as either a self-developed or new Apple-supplied video engine. While devices from many European and Taiwan-area manufacturers already have the hardware, Apple so far has limited the iPhone to a rear camera with support only for still photos.
(images via CNET)