July 7, 2011 12:11 pm

Deep dive: Skype

PORTLAND, OR, United States – With companies, services, and websites online, it seems we have a very short memory. Most services we utilize on a regular basis weren’t around even three or four years ago. However, there’s one service that’s been a very sticky part of my daily routine ever since its inception in 2004: Skype.

Skype has owned the Internet Telephony space ever since this easy-to-use and great-sounding application entered the market back in the mid-2000s. Now with its embrace of the mobile platform, Skype is even stronger, making it possible to call worldwide for free with fantastic voice quality over 3G and Wi-Fi data connections.

I’m also a huge fan of the Skype experience on the Nokia platform. Currently, I utilize the application on a daily basis on my Nokia N8. With Skype, I can easily IM and call my Skype contacts around the world, and send SMS internationally for very reasonable rates. However, the most integrated and fluid Skype experienced I have ever had is on the Nokia N900. On this device, there is no Skype ‘app’ as Skype is embedded in the Maemo operating system itself.

When you first use the phone, you can log into Skype via the phones settings. Then, when a contact in your address book happens to also be a Skype friend, you see in the call menu, alongside the option to place a traditional call or send them an SMS, the option to call or IM via Skype. This makes using Skype a one-step process that no other phone platform has tried.

My favorite Skype mobile experience was in May of 2010, when Nokia released an update to the N900 that made it possible to conduct video calls using the N900’s front facing camera. Using this facility, I conducted my first Skype video call over 3G to my friend in Canada, using just a data connection on a mobile phone.

Skype on my mobile is valuable when I travel as well. If I go to a country where my traditional SIM won’t work, I can utilize Skype to call home for free (or for very cheap) using just my N8 and a Wi-Fi connection, which are very easy to find in coffee shops, hotels and other facilities.

Are you a Skype on mobile user? If so, why not?