While the the obvious intent of a Nokia Skype deal is about voice calling, it could definitely have a substantial impact on mobile video calling. Â As noted in the just linked Techlivez post, the Skype deal will integrate Skype directly into Contacts – meaning it’s not a separate application, but rather an available protocol.
It’s too early to know how real that is, but the idea is actually pretty huge and I can suddenly see how this makes carriers nervous as they consider the potential loss to their voice revenues. Â As an integrated experience I could imagine seeing another option in my call menu which would include options for sending a Skype message or making a a Skype call much like making an Internet Call appears when you’ve added a SIP account today. Â The difference of course is that very few people with the exception of a few geeks actually use the intgrated SIP stack. Â I made a Skype video call with my parents over the weekend and Skype reported over 14 Million active connections during that time – that’s some serious potential!
Now back to video for a moment… Video calling usage is low for a few reasons. Â First are the data costs, but I think even more importantly is that the service is operator provisioned – at least on the integrated front. Â The 3rd party options work, but are also have limiting factors as they require some advanced planning on both sides to make sure everyone has the right applications and connections on either their PC or mobile. Â Skype on the other hand is a fairly ubiquitous application and something you can expect to find on the other end of a lot of people’s PCs today. Â I’ve even been seeing Skype on national TV lately on Oprah, the Today Show and not a commerical but in actual use as part of the show. Â These are programs watched by (again) millions of people who are seeing Â Skype in action. Â One video call with my parents and they could easily see AND hear (Skype’s voice quality is awesome) the benefits.
I’ve had a front facing camera on my mobile phone since 2005 when I first received the N70. Â Since that time, I’ve been able to make a single video call. Â Even with a flat data rate and a 3.5G as well as wifi capable device, no carrier supports direct video calling (in the US) without first subscribing to a proprietary service that of course restricts use to a few select phones. Â Skype could very easily change all this and if they offer video this change could substantially impact how we communicate. Â Sure we still have to get around the data tarrifs, but that is actually happening more and more on a global basis even which is excellent as it enables greater usage … exactly what we need. Â As I’ve mentioned previously my own usage is at least 90% data if not more. Â Skype would only add to this … even as a voice option and I would expect a considerable shift to data over voice (in time) as more people realize the potential.
It was only a matter of time for carriers to make stink about the inclusion of Skype on the N97.Â I had first read about the issue via Simon Judge and was surprised it had even take this long to be a public complaint.
Carriers will always hate things that compete with their bread and butter and when you look at the possibility of Skype operating as a voice over data service the carrier is reduced to a mere pipe.Â From my perspective as an end user, Iâ€™m always looking at more opportunities for just this situation.Â I donâ€™t use any operator services currently other than the connection on on either my home broadband or mobile connections.Â I have not purchased a phone from a carrier outside of the original iphone since that was released and before that it was years earlier.Â When I moved to Cingular (now ATT) I only requested the SIM since I knew I knew Iâ€™d be bringing my own devices.
One might argue that Skype delivered pre-loaded on a device would greatly impact the conversion to use numbers and I canâ€™t argue that, though I would suggest that the Skype base is strong and enthusiastic enough that installing it yourself â€“ with or without the Ovi Store â€“ is going to happen anyway.Â As it happens there are already no shortage of VOIP options for mobile devices â€¦ Skype just happens to be BIG!
I hope Nokia does not back down on the potential for the partnership here.Â If itâ€™s really a mobile computer they are looking to sell, I should be able to use any compatible application I want to make the most of my purchase.Â That is after all how computers work.
Andy Abramson just posted the most amazing list of his accounts, devices and methods for staying connected globally. Impressive does not even begin to cover it.
Oliver Starr rocking some sweet news via Blognation!!
To say the application isnâ€™t yet ready for prime time would be a pretty major understatement as it currently requires the use of terminal on the iPhone to tell the iPhone to use its on-board SIP stack to place the call over WiFi instead of via the SIM card. To use the terminal application, in turn requires that you first Jailbreak the phone using an application like iBrickr or iFuntastic.
This is not an application for the inexperienced or the faint of heart.That will all change however as the company tells me that it intends to finish development on the application which will include simplifying the activation and adding seamless switching back and forth between VoIP when open WiFi is available and the use of the SIM card when out of WiFi range. It is important to note that it is NOT NECESSARY to break the SIM lock to use TruPhoneâ€™s iPhone VoIP application. [blognation USA]
I have confidence (yes without seeing it in action) that this will be a very solid solution when it arrives and I welcome the opportunity to test it out. My previous experience with TruPhone on the Nokia N-Series has been excellent. Their software auto-switches easily between networks (not with an active call) but makes sure you can make the lowest cost call wherever you are. International travelers and people with limited cell coverage will rejoice at this. TruPhone just needs to wait out the pending iPhone software update to make sure they can still get apps installed without breaking things.
Andy Abramson has a video of this! Wish I cold figure out how to embed hipcast, but you can just click over to see it in action.
A quick sidenote… If you have a Grandcentral account, you can share that number linked to your Truphone and cell (and others) and be sure to receive a call wherever you happen to be on whatever network your devices happen to know about…