updated 12:35 pm EDT, Wed August 17, 2011
Skype WiFi app hits iOS devices
Skype took a distinctive approach to using its credit Wednesday with the release of Skype WiFi for iOS devices (free, App Store). The app lets users load up the previously computer-only option on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod and get Wi-Fi access from third-party hotspot providers on a per-minute basis and without having to sign up for a separate account. It's intended for those who might need only a quick jump online, especially when traveling to a country where the language might be a barrier to using a hotspot.
The service works with providers that provide access around the world, such as Boingo, FON, and Tomizone, some hotel- or motel-specific providers like Best Western and Comfort, and region-specific providers like NTT DoCoMo or Swisscom. Users aren't capped on the amount they can use as long as they're willing to pay the relevant amount.
Skype WiFi depends on having at least iOS 4.1. Access starts from six cents a minute depending on the provider. As an incentive to get users started, Skype is giving an hour of total free access, up to 15 minutes at a time, starting Saturday, August 20 at midnight British time and running through to the end of August 21.
No mention has been made of if or when the app will reach Android and other mobile platforms.