RealTime IT News

Beta VoIP Software Hits Pocket PCs

Skype Technologies, which offers a P2P (Peer-to-Peer) Voice over IP (VoIP) solution for Windows desktop PCs, has released a beta version of its software for Windows Mobile 2003 handhelds. VoIP enables people to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls instead of standard telephone lines. IP stands for Internet Protocol.

The new application is free. It is a thin version of Skype for the desktop; developed specifically for PDAs and enabling users to make Skype voice calls using a Wi-Fi enabled Pocket PC.

According to the company, PocketSkype retains the same core features of the desktop version, including free Skype to Skype worldwide calling to any Skype user, the ability to participate in free Skype conference calling, instant messaging, access to the Global Decentralized Directory, an online presence and contact lists.

Wi-Fi enabled handhelds can be used anywhere a 802.11b connection is supported, such as at home, in the office, and at hot spots. The analyst firm Gartner predicts that by the year 2008 there will be more than 167,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots around the globe and over 75 million Wireless technology users worldwide. That'll be a lot of places to make Wi-Fi enabled phone calls.

In addition, several smartphones, such as Motorola's MPx and Nokia's 9500 Communicator, announced this year, but not due till later this year, are slated to include both 802.11b LAN (local area network) and cellular or WAN (wide area network) access. Should VoIP be supported on these devices, then users may be able to leverage the cheapest, fastest and most available wireless technology to make their phone calls and access the Web.

T-Mobile has taken a step in this direction with the announcement in February that it will integrate Wi-Fi and 3G (GSM/GPRS, EDGE & WCDMA) mobile services this spring with the goal of creating a multi-speed network to carry data traffic.

Speaking in a press conference at the 3GSM World Congress, T-Mobile Chief Executive Rene Obermann said, "we are creating one multi-speed, multimedia network; integrating 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi." He added that the goal is "total seamlessness" between the technologies.

This would allow users to have one service plan for using the fastest network technology available to them.

Reprinted from PocketPC City.