In a move sure to irk mobile operators, handset maker Nokia has made Skype available as a free download from its Ovi online store
Of course, a version of Skype has been available for Symbian phones for quite some time now, but the Skype app on the Ovi store is capable of running on any device that has the latest version of Symbian. This includes handsets such as the Nokia E71, E72, N95, N96, N97 etc.
Skype will soon be available for other Symbian phones from the likes of Sony Ericsson etc.
According to the official Nokia blog, “the app is a fully featured Skype client, giving users the ability to make free Skype-to-Skype calls, send and receive instant messages and share files such as pictures and video. Users will also be able to receive calls (to an existing Skype number) and see when other Skype users are online. Contacts are catered for too, with an easy import of phone numbers from the device’s address book directly into the app.”
The Skype app will work over both Wi-Fi and a mobile data connection.
“Symbian is enabling us to bring smartphones to more and more people and ensures scale for our solutions and compelling services, such as Skype,” said Jo Harlow, Nokia’s SVP for smartphones. “We’re seeing around 1.5 million downloads a day through Ovi Store now and believe that the Skype client for Nokia smartphones increases the amount of downloads further.”
Skype already has a mammoth following of approximately 520 million registered users around the globe, mostly computer-based users. Recently however, it has begun branching out on to other devices, such as HD televisions from Samsung and others.
Mobile operators have been notoriously touchy about VoIP applications such as Skype over the years, over fears that Skype would eat into their lucrative international voice call revenue streams. Nokia for example had previously included VoIP capabilities on some of its high-end handsets, such as the N97, but the move proved unpopular with some mobile operators, which instead choose to disable the VoIP option for UK customers.
“With Skype for Nokia smartphones, more than 200 million smartphone users worldwide will be able to take the Skype features they love with them on the move,” said Russ Shaw, General Manager, Mobile at Skype.
“Alongside Skype’s relationships with operators and handset manufacturers worldwide, making Skype available direct to consumers will help millions of users keep in contact with the people that are important to them without worrying about the cost, distance or whether they are away from a computer,” Shaw added.