Mmobile operator 3 finally released full details of its new Skype handset at an event in London today. Early adopters can expect free calls, but no guarantees of reliability. Skype was brought crashing down in August by a Windows update. Michael van Swaaij, who stepped in as acting CEO at Skype when founders Niklas Zennstrom …
that would be without, um, circumspection then?
Still, better than having the service (ahem) cut off.
Ah, too late
is this really VoIP?
is this true VoIP, or is it like the X-Series Skype offer - traditional cellular voice over the air interface, then VoIPed by 3? (If it's real VoIP then they must have cracked the latency problem somehow, and without using HSPA).
Way to Go 3!
This is an ideal beginning. About time too. Unlike Vodafone/Orange etc crippling the handset so as not to use VOIP. What a refreshing change .
Hope the call quality is good enough. Wonder where does this put Google mobile (when it comes).
@ is this really VoIP?
It depends on your definition of "really VoIP".
The new Skypephone is normal 3G/2G telephony into 3's network. Only once it is there does it get routed via 3's Skype gateway to the Internet as VoIP. So yes, it is VoIP, but not end-to-end. Does it really matter? Because of the way 3 have tariffed this, in a word, "No". Purists may think otherwise - but in the end it is all about being able to talk across the Internet for free. That part of the link remains the normal telephony channel is, in my opinion irrelevant, technically, as long as it is not to the overall detriment of the call.
I was at the product launch and have a pair of these Skypephones. Early indications are that they are no different in voice quality than Skype over a personal computer. But it is a good shift of the Skype paradigm to a 3G handset - the Skype client behaves much as you'd expect it to. Even Presence is carried across and you can control it in the same manner as on a computer.
I have to say that the handset is very intuitive to use. Anyone who can use a mobile phone will be able to use this handset. Anyone who is familiar with Skype will be able to take to this handset in a snap. There are no complexities, no applications to find and load, just a large square "Skype" button on the keypad. Press it once and you're in.
3 and Skype have done well with the integration. Now it is up to the imagination of the buying public to actually subscribe to the idea. It is as cheap as chips and it works.
In late 2004 I bought a 3 Network PAYG phone, a NEC616v.
I soon became aware that any airtime credit (min £10GBP) was expunged from my account after 30 days whether used up or not. This left a rotten taste in my mouth. To me this was similar but greatly worse than having a contract phone.
I had the phone unlocked and was happy to use it with my Orange card.
Such was the nausea I felt, that when, much later, 3 Network became a better option than some other networks, I found that I could not muster an appetite of trust to go back to them.
Now here again, is apparently a similar deal. Pay your money but the Skype using ability is disabled after 30 days until you pay for more credit.
This seems an OK deal if you are a chatterbox. And have a contract. But for those low income users who are cost focused and use Skype to minimise phone expenses, this (pay £10GBP per month for ‘Free’ Skype calls), is a regular drain on resources to be avoided.
A better deal may be to charge some fraction of a pence per minute for Skype calls as long as there is some credit held and to not expunge credit from the account.