Mobile Skype: Room for improvement

by Volker Weber

Just reading the specs does not show you the weak parts of a solution. One of those is WLAN support in mobile devices. If you run Skype on a regular smartphone, you want to use WLAN access, because unlike "cellular" data it is free. So Skype on a Windows mobile with WLAN support sounds like a really great idea. The only problem is battery life. As soon as you switch on WLAN, and then load a Skype client, it will not only run in standby, but it will suck your battery dry really quickly. This means, you probably will only run it, if you want to call somebody else.

The Netgear Skype phone is a different matter. You can leave it on all day. But there is a catch. You are logged in to Skype, although your PC may not. Then, if somebody wants to send you an instant message, he will get this error message:

skypephoneerror.png

What it should say is: "The other party uses a Skype client without instant messaging. Please call." I hope this is in the upgrade plan for the PC clients. After all Skype owns both ends of the conversation and should know which clients they are talking to. This is actually where a Windows Mobile Skype client has its advantages. It does support instant messaging.

If I may make a wish for the Netgear phone: you have an update capability built in. Please send some decent ring tones. Neither Bubbly, Sing-a-long nor Medley cut it. How about "Ring"?

Comments

I agree that the error message should be much better, but why in the world have they not been able (yet?) to implement something like T9 or SureType as being used on regular mobiles for SMS? This should be enough for small-scale IM (and yes, no file-transfers with drag´n drop).

Armin Auth, 2006-10-20

Possibly because the manufacturers/vendors for VoIP phones share a common blind spot: They think of VoIP as a replacement technology for POTS. So they focus on providing voice services. But that's plain wrong. VoIP - at least for me - is merely an addon to IM.

Stefan Rubner, 2006-10-20

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