Voice and Chat over iPad: Skype and Truphone Fill the Gap

skypewifitruphonelogosthumb1[1] Launch of the iAttaché (woops, iPad) has certainly generated lots of social media coverage: blogs, Twitter and Facebook are full of comments and reviews. 300,000 sold; over a million Apps downloaded, etc. Since it’s not available yet for Canadians (except those who made the trip to Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago and Seattle, for instance, last weekend) I cannot comment yet on the user experience; however, it appears that iAttaché is still a valid description of this appliance (sorry, folks, it’s not a computer and it’s not an iPod! – I’ll have more to say in a separate post).

Skype call from iPad.2010-04-03 Apple left out the “Phone” application for a reason: iPad is not a suitable form factor for consumers experienced with traditional handset-size (smart)phone devices. But I have received voice calls and engaged in chat discussions via acquaintances who have been using Skype for iPhone on the iPad. In addition Truphone was first out of the blocks to launch a VoIP client specifically for the iPad.

As for Skype running on the iPad:

  • It runs the legacy Skype for iPhone application with an option to view it in “double resolution” mode applicable to running all iPhone apps on the iPad.
  • Skype has released, via the App store, an interim upgrade that addresses a couple of “iPad teething problems”. (Downloaded it to my iPhone this morning.)
  • Skype intends to release an iPad-specific version that makes better use of the additional real estate available on the iPad’s larger display; this would be especially useful for chat sessions.

Questions:

  • Will the Skype for iPad release be accompanied by the forthcoming release of Skype for iPhone that incorporates the Skype SILK codec to take full advantage of the associated voice quality?
  • Will AT&T’s network be sufficiently robust to run Skype for iPad reliably over 3G?
  • Leaving Skype for iPhone open on my iPhone will drain the battery within three to four hours; how much will Skype for iPad impact the iPad’s acclaimed and confirmed much longer battery life? (In this regard, the lack of multi-tasking probably will act as a governor on battery consumption as soon as one goes to another iPad application).

As for Truphone for iPad, John Biggs has a video over at Crunch Gear and concludes:

The app worked quite well and if you’ve used it on the iPod Touch you’re familiar with the call quality – standard – and ease of use – standard. It’s great for making quick calls from abroad, however, and until Skype goes iPad we’re kind of stuck with it.

Obviously this doesn’t match a real calling application that I doubt will be included in the 3G version of the iPad. However, for calls in a pinch this is a great solution.

freetalkeverymanlogos180px11[1] One final comment and an unabashed plug for the FreeTalk Everyman headset: using the iPad’s native speakers for voice conversations will make your session “public” to anyone within hearing distance. Should you wish more privacy or not to annoy those nearby you, use the FreeTalk Everyman for Skype’s 3.5 mm speaker jack plugged into the iPad. You’ll still need to use the iPad mic and there’s no need to reset any Audio settings since it’s simply the speaker output being used.

Bottom line: Skype and Truphone will allow users to determine the conditions and market size under which they wish to conduct voice and chat conversations using the iPad as an end point device. And it sure fits as one more device for Skype Everywhere.

Full disclosure: In Store Solutions, producer of the FreeTalk Everyman headset, has become a client of Denali InterConneXions, publisher of Voice On The Web, building on the author’s previous business development experience with establishing partnerships that can assist with the promotion of a primary vendor’s offerings. A more complete statement will follow shortly.

  • Who Says The iPad Cannot Be Used As A Phone?!? (geardiary.com)
  • Truphone for iPad Turns Your Tablet Into a TabletPhone (techcrunch.com)
  • Boingo Adds An “Apple Wireless” Option for WiFi-on-the-Go (voiceontheweb.biz)
  • Reprise: Is WiFi Becoming the Unregulated Stealth Carrier of the Future? (voiceontheweb.biz)
  • Skype for iPhone 1.3 Released (voiceontheweb.biz)
  • Skype for Mobile – Now Focusing a True Skype User Experience (voiceontheweb.biz)
  • Skype’s SILK Codec: Working Towards Adoption as a Standard (voiceontheweb.biz)
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About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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