Skype for Pocket PC 2.1 Released — Setting Wireless Expectations with Reality

Today Skype released Skype for Pocket PC 2.1, a release whose accompanying documentation reflects the reality of the limited resources of handheld mobile devices. A full list of features is available here; however, key items include:

  • A new multi-chat interface which supports chats with several participants.
  • Skype Launcher, a small ‘launcher” application that checks available memory and verifies that Skype is installed correctly. (Hopefully this will avoid the situation I previously encountered where sometimes I had to reboot a Windows Mobile device before Skype for Pocket PC would start if other programs, such as SliingBox Mobile, were running.)
  • Built-in call management that detects incoming mobile calls (via your normal mobile service) during a Skype call and offers the user the choice to hang up or ignore the call. You can switch to Skype calls when in a mobile call.
  • Detailed contact search including specification of country, city and language as options.

However, buried in the details are the following that reflect a more realistic approach to Mobile Skype:

  • Minimum processor speed is 400 MHz if you wish to use voice; otherwise it is really only effective for Skype IM.
  • Wireless connection over WiFi or 3G only; the latter reflecting the latency issue that arises when attempting to use any VoIP service on a 2.xG data service. If you have GPRS/EDGE, you can use Skype for PocketPC for Instant Messaging only.
  • A warning to only use wireless connections where there is minimum (via an unlimited data plan) or no cost for the data service:

When using Skype over 3G data networks, please be aware that you will be subject to data usage costs in accordance with your service provider tariff. Please avoid using Skype on 3G when roaming abroad, as this can be expensive. Remember, if you are using WiFi or an unlimited 3G data plan you can talk as much as you like for free.

  • Obviously reflecting the reality that VoIP has heavy demand on the volume of data required when using wireless data services.
  • You can participate in conference calls; however, you cannot act as a host who sets up a conference call.

A couple of caveats:

  • You must uninstall any previous version of Skype for PocketPC prior to installing this new version 2.1
  • You need to manage the number of applications running on your device such that Skype has sufficient memory to run properly.

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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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