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Skype's latest mobile application for Windows Mobile smartphones adds a host of new features, and it is arguably the most-compelling version of the Internet calling service for any mobile platform.
Skype 3.0 for Windows Mobile enables mobile users to utilize the company's Voice over Internet Protocol service for free or cheap calls. Skype-to-Skype calls are free, but calling non-Skype users costs a few cents, and it is generally cheaper than what the cellular operators charge.
One major advantage Windows Mobile Skype users have over iPhone Skype users is that the Windows version can make VoIP calls over 3G networks. The iPhone version can only make calls over Wi-Fi connections because of limitations AT&T imposes on its mobile data network for Apple's smartphones. Skype recommends users use Wi-Fi in order to avoid their carrier's data charges.
The 3.0 version of Skype also lets Windows Mobile users send text messages from the application when connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot. The company said this could save users a lot of money, particularly if they're sending SMS messages internationally. Additionally, consumers can use their handset to send files like photos or music to other Skype users.
As it prepares for an initial public offering next year, Skype has been making multiple moves to expand its presence in the mobile space by creating software for nearly every major platform. The mobile operators are generally hesitant about the VoIP service because they fear it will eat into voice revenue, but Skype insists its service can be beneficial for carriers because it encourages consumers to use mobile data.
Smartphones and applications like VoIP are low-cost and low-risk technologies that can boost the productivity of a mobile workforce. InformationWeek examined how enterprises can equip their road warriors without breaking the bank, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).