May 4, 2009 Up until recently iPhone users wanting to cut their phone bills by using Skype have been forced to use third-party solutions, such as fring or IM+ for Skype. But with the official Skype for iPhone app now available free, such third-party offerings are likely to become less popular. Skype for iPhone does pretty much what you think. It lets Skype users make free calls to fellow Skype users, using a Wi-Fi network, as well as allowing the use of Skype accounts to make reduced-price calls to traditional landline phones.
Users can sign-in via 3G, Wi-Fi, GPRS or Edge. Although text chats work over the mobile phone network, calls won't. For that, you’ll need Wi-Fi, so call quality will depend on the strength of the wireless network you’re connected to. The app will pull phone numbers directly from your iPhone address book and even display your contacts’ photos. Conference calling is available, but only if someone invites you. The app will work with the iPod Touch, but users will need headphones with an embedded mike to talk.
While Skype for iPhone sticks to the basics of VoIP calls and text chat, fans of the desktop version will be hoping future updates will add some of the features of its desktop counterpart, such as SMS, video and proper conference calling, file transfer and voicemail. Until then, the existing version of Skype for iPhone is available free from the app store.