I was honestly happy when a friend pointed out that Skype was now available on the iPhone. I was under no delusions that it would not be heavily controlled so as not to offend the service providers, but the fact that it had made it was good. Really at the moment the application not allowing Skype calls over the 3G network was not a huge deal as the cap’s in Australia are quite tight and VoIP would definitely blow mine.
When I first saw Netgear’s wifi Skype mobile I thought, that is a really cool idea especially at home or when traveling. I was looking at one before moving but instead got an iPhone and what was my first thought. This would be really cool with something like Skype on it, even if it was only available over wifi.
But in the real world it is no where near as good. The Netgear one has a huge advantage, it is always connected to Skype, unlike an iPhone. Skype loses a lot of the value if you have to keep the application open and can not have your mobile sleep to save power or use it for anything else without disconnecting from the Skype network. The single app model for the iPhone is a major stumbling block for applications such as Skype. Having the application close when answering an SMS or checking email makes it all but useless for receiving calls, that are not pre-planned. But that is something for another post.
I have used Skype on my iPhone and will continue to both have it installed and use it, but it is a long way from replacing a device that can maintain the connection to the Skype network in the background. My use will be when making calls or if I discuss and plan to receive a call from someone.
I am eager to see what the Skype client looks like when the Blackberry or Android version is released in the coming months as background applications are very common on them and hopefully we might see a mobile device that can do Skype well.