Multi-tasking Skype For iPhone 4 Launched

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Skype has released an update of its VOIP app for Apple iPhone 4

Skype has launched a Version 2.0.1 of its VOIP (voice-over IP) software for Apple iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS handsets running iOS4.

Released on 21 July, the newest version of the application plays to the operating system’s multitasking capabilities, enabling users to run Skype in the background, as well as receive Skype calls and instant messages while other applications are running or the phone is locked. Also new — users can continue a Skype call while switching to another application.

Skype’s popular VOIP application for iPhones, the iPod touch and iPads allows users to make and receive calls or instant messages with other Skype users around the world. In addition to using WiFi, calls can these days also be placed over AT&T’s 3G network, though “operator data charges” are said to apply.

Fring VoIP

Skype competitor Fring also offers VOIP services, and on 9 July introduced an app enabling iPhone 4 owners to enjoy two-way video calling over WiFi or 3G networks. The app even works across multiple platforms, so users can call friends with a single-camera iPhone 3GS, or those on Android- or Symbian-running phones. It also allows multitasking, and so can run in the background while a user interacts with other applications, such as email.

Fring explains that its service allows Fring users to additionally communicate with friends on third-party networks such as GoogleTalk, SIP,

Twitter and Skype. Skype, however, recently made its displeasure with this arrangement known by threatening Fring with legal action.

“Skype’s anti-competitive ambush comes in the wake of Fring’s mobile video calling on iPhone 4 launch,” Fring announced in a 12 July statement, airing the squabble in public. Fring CEO Avi Shechter added that he was “disappointed” that Skype, which once “championed the cause of openness, is now attempting to muzzle the competition.”

Video-messaging

Given the popularity of these applications, and particularly their new video-messaging capabilities, a number of smartphone manufacturers — such as Motorola and Samsung, in addition to Apple — are incorporating second cameras in their handsets’ design.

The new Skype application is free to download and can be found in the Apple iTunes store.

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