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HTML clipboardSkype has released a 'lite' or 'thin client' for Skype for Android-powered devices as well as more than 100 other Java-enabled mobile phones, plus a beta version of Skype for Intel-based Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs).

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With the theme of "liquid communications" or "Skype Whenever, Wherever," Skype is aiming to liberate the Skype experience from a captive device (desktop) to more user-aware devices (mobile, TV as well as embedded into appliances).

They are well on the way to doing this. For example, 41% of Skype calls on Christmas day involved video, only to be surpassed at 47% of calls on New Years day.

On 8th January, at their CES 2009 Las Vegas press conference, they announced the release of Skype Lite, a thin client for Skype that can be downloaded onto Android-powered devices as well as more than 100 other specific models of Java-enabled mobile phones.

They also announced a beta version of Skype for Intel-based Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs).

Skype also announced new desktop clients: Skype for Mac 2.8 (just launched as a beta at Mac World), and  Skype for Windows 4.0 (with a February 2009 release date, though many people have been happily using Skype 4.0 in beta mode for months).

This launch builds on successful public testing last year and the incorporation of user feedback to an earlier beta version which was only available on a limited number of mobile devices. The updated beta now makes Skype software broadly available to millions of mobile users worldwide, including for the first time mobile users in the USA.

The Skype Lite version delivers core Skype capabilities including:

  • - Making Skype-to-Skype calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world
  • - Sending/receiving instant messages to/from individuals or groups
  • - Making Skype calls at low rates to people on landline or mobile phones
  • - Receiving calls to your online personal phone number on Skype
  • - Seeing when your Skype contacts are online/available to chat

"Making the Skype experience available for download to Android-powered devices, as well as hundreds of other mobile phones from the world’s leading handset manufacturers is a major step forward for Skype,” said Scott Durchslag, COO of Skype.

“Nearly half the world’s population are mobile phone users today," he continued, "and we know that many people who already use Skype want the option to use Skype on their mobile phones. We are committed to working towards our goal of getting Skype into the pockets of the mobile masses.”

The lite version of Skype is currently available for Android devices, which today include the T-Mobile G1, the first Android-powered mobile phone currently available in the US and UK. It is expected to also work on other future Android devices.

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The Skype Lite version also works on more than 100 (but by no means all) Java-enabled phones from the world’s top five handset manufacturers: LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.


Lite version of Skype for Android

For instructions on downloading the lite version of Skype to LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson phones, visit www.skype.com/m using the mobile browser on your phone.

Otherwise visit www.skype.com/go/mobiledownload from your computer. This web page includes a listing of the mobile phone models currently supported, as well as a description of rates that you may be charged.

The lite version of Skype is available globally, with the ability to make Skype-to-Skype calls and low cost calls to landlines and mobiles abroad currently available in ten countries: the United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Brazil (Rio and Sao Paolo), Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Australia and New Zealand.

Naturally enough, it behoves you to remember that your mobile service provider will charge you for voice and data at their regular mobile phone rates, which can be far higher than the Skype charges involved.

Skype also announced availability of Skype 1.0 Beta for Intel-based Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs).

This new version of Skype software results from work with Intel Corporation to develop a new mobile Skype experience for MIDs based on the Intel's Atom processor and Moblin-based Linux OS.

As you doubtless know, the term MID refers to the category of small, mobile consumer devices enabling a rich Internet experience, coupled with the capability to communicate with others, enjoy entertainment, access information, and be productive on the go, all without sacrificing mobility or performance.

MIDs typically come with screens 10cm-18cm or so in size, a camera, GPS and WiFi connectivity. Some MID devices also provide WiMax or 3G/4G support for wireless broadband mobile connectivity.

Skype 1.0 Beta for MIDs offers a new, optimized interface which designed to deliver fast, smooth kinetic scrolling support on the touch screen displays of MIDs. The software enables making free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls to anywhere in the world, in addition to calls to landlines and mobiles. (BEWARE: A few countries offer cheap calls for both landline and mobiles, but this is not necessarily the case for Australia and many other countries.)

The new beta for MIDs includes instant messaging (IM), group IM, SMS, call forwarding, voicemail, presence awareness (seeing when your contacts are online), and the ability to receive calls from other Skype users or to your personal online number. MIDs’ faster performance and wireless connectivity can also enable Skype users to experience an excellent mobile video calling experience.

“Today’s introduction of the first, complete Internet communications offering for MIDs bridges the gap between the phone and PC and underscores our vision of ‘Skype everywhere’ and our commitment to open access,” said Scott Durchslag, Skype’s Chief Operating Officer. “By supporting WiFi, WiMax, 3G and 4G, this development expands Skype’s mobile portfolio and further illustrates the broad accessibility to Skype that we offer on a multitude of mobile devices.”

“Mobile Internet Devices enable users to enjoy the full Internet experience and stay connected with their friends and family wherever they go,” said Pankaj Kedia, director of global ecosystem programs in the Ultra Mobility Group at Intel Corporation. “Our collaboration with Skype to deliver Skype 1.0 Beta for Mobile Internet Devices based on the Intel Atom processor and Moblin-based Linux OS will provide new ways for users to communicate anywhere, anytime.”

Skype is working with Intel to deliver its application software for MIDs through Original Device Manufacturers (ODMs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

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Tony Austin

Worked at IBM from 1970, for a quarter century, then founded Asia/Pacific Computer Services to provide IT consulting and software development services (closed company at end of 2013). These says am still involved with IT as an observer and commentator, as well as attempting to understand cosmology, quantum mechanics and whatever else will keep my mind active and fend off deterioration of my grey matter.

 

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