Enter the Skypephone
Skype and mobile operator 3 have launched a handset that lets users make free Skype to Skype calls and send free Skype instant messages from their mobile phone to other Skype users no matter where they are.
The 3 Skypephone is a fully-featured 3G Internet phone with Skype built-in. In addition to Skype calls, the phone makes conventional calls and can be used to access 3s other Internet services. It was developed by Skype and 3 in partnership with Qualcomm, using Qualcomms BREW platform to enable Skype to work with core handset features such as address book and messaging.
The phone has a 2 Megapixel camera, MP3 player and Bluetooth. It comes in black or white, with blue or pink trim. 3 customers using the 3 Skypephone will be able to make Skype calls and send instant messages on the move with the push of a button. 3 notes that this is the first time an operator has offered a mass market device which is tailor-made for free calling over the Internet from a mobile. Now, all of Skypes 246 million registered users can be reached for free with the 3 Skypephone.
Skype is now truly mobile, says Michael van Swaaij, acting CEO at Skype. This new handset is incredibly easy to use and lets you make free mobile Skype calls when you are on the move to other Skype users all over the world no matter where they are. Skype began by offering free PC to PC calling and now were doing the same with mobile calls with 3. Thanks to 3, Skype has now taken a giant step forward in the mobile arena. It takes an innovative operator like 3 to challenge traditional thinking and offer the kind of product other operators are still shying away from.
3UK CEO Kevin Russell adds:
3 wants to make the mobile Internet available to everyone. To do this, we believe that services need to be simple to access and affordable. Communication is the prime function of the mobile today. Skype is the leader in Internet communications. To enable Skype to go mobile in this way brings free Internet calls together with an affordable 3G handset. Mobile has the potential to massively increase access to Internet calling.
The 3 Skypephone will be available this year in the UK, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Macau and Sweden. Skype to Skype calls will always be free from the 3 Skypephone as long as you are on contract or your PAYG 3 credit is topped up monthly. In the UK, the 3 Skypephone costs 49.99 on a PAYG tariff or free on a contract.
The 3 Skypephone will be available from Friday, 2 November in 3Stores across the UK and from Skype and 3s websites in time for Christmas. The 3 Skypephone is available for pre-order in the UK from today. Anyone who doesnt already use Skype can create a Skype account by going to the Skype website and downloading the free software onto their computer. Alternatively they can create a Skype account directly from their 3 Skypephone.