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Skype Mobile? Yes but not for our Treo...

Back in September I had written a post about how Skype would soon be available for our Treo following comments made to ABC News by the company founder and CEO Niklas Zennstrom at DEMOMobile. 

However, after inquiring directly with the company it emerged that his comments had been taken out of context and that there were in fact no plans to develop a mobile Skype solution for our Treo.

Now, following another conference in Toronto, the company's founder has announced plans to release a mobile Skype version for Embedded Linux, Symbian or Windows Mobile devices later this year.  However, there's zero mention of any PalmOS or Treo related developments...  Surely there are no technical impediments to running Skype on our Treo so what's the deal!?  Plus, can't Skype see that our Treo is the leading smartphone and that it would be an obvious choice for a mobile version?

I don't know about you but I get really annoyed when our Treo is not on the list of devices that leading software developers are considering applications for.  In this particular case perhaps it is time that: a) I had a word with Niklas and told him a little about how much he's missing out on, b) someone at palmOne would contemplate sending him a free Treo 650 to 'fall in love', c) that PalmSource would let him know more about its developments in the smartphone area, d) that a resourceful Treo developer showed some interest in Skype's API and e) that we put a petition together to show Skype that "We want our Skype Mobile too!".

I can't speak for what palmOne, PalmSource or a developer might do on this front but for my part I will contact Skype again and try to get them to see the light while you can cast your voice in the poll below which I will then forward to the company.

Skype Mobile for Treonauts
Would you be be interested to use Skype on your Treo?

Yes
No
Maybe
Click Here to View Current Results

 Treonauts don't like companies that dismiss them...


Posted by Andrew on April 25, 2005 at 07:34 AM

Treo Software | VoIP

| Permalink


Comments

1
by Diego | Apr 25, 2005 11:05:22 AM

2
by Brent | Apr 25, 2005 1:51:15 PM

Um...isn't Skype for wifi enabled devices? I think I read about someone using it over Ev-DO too. Point is, the Treo doesn't feature support for either of those standards. I think the petitions would be better directed at pa1mOne to add support for these networking standards. Better throw in a petition for each of the wireless carriers too. I'm reasonably certain they are not keen on allowing a competing service to piggyback on their networks. Which is not entirely unreasonable given the incredible licensing fees charged by the FCC for spectrum usage. Sure the technology is available... but the situation is much more complicated than whether it is technically feasable. To reiterate: the decision on whether to include WiFi and Skype (out of the box) ultimately rests with the wireless carriers. Look for a revenue-sharing model which satisfies them, and then it might happen. Probably it will take so long that by then something better will have emerged.

3
by Levi | Apr 25, 2005 2:24:10 PM

While I'm certainly interested in using Skype, it is not designed for GPRS communications according to Skype:

"Do I need WiFi? Does Skype for Pocket PC work on GPRS?

Skype for Pocket PC is designed to be used with a WiFi connection. If you are using Skype for Pocket PC with GPRS, you can use instant messaging but the bandwidth does not support calling functionality."

My assumption is that EDGE and 1xRTT also would not really be enough to handle the bandwidth, and so it would only be available to those who use the Treo with EVDO (probably a very small percentage), and those who may use it with Wifi. I know that there are hacked drivers to Pa1mOne's wifi SD card, but how many people are actually using this? It's a hack afterall! The only other wifi solution is the Enfora Sled which probably will not be out for at least another month for the 650, and who knows how popular it will be. Whereas there are a lot of pocketPC phones/PDA's with wifi actually built into the device or at the very least available via supported accessory cards.

As frustrating as this is, I'm not sure our ire should really be directed at Skype. They have to make business decisions as to where to put there resources and until they see a viable market of Treo 650/600 users that have access to the higher speeds necessary for VOIP/Skype, there's little reason for them to be putting out statements of theoretical support...

4
by Taggy | Apr 28, 2005 7:44:04 AM

The only way Skype could improve things for Treo users is if it effects the telco market enough through wifi connectivity to force them to drop their voice and data prices.

5
by Raphael | May 2, 2005 1:13:10 AM

My hunch is that because Treo is actually a phone, the phone companies might not allow Skype to develop their software for it. Perhaps palmOne and the wireless phone carries signed some sort of agreement not to allow Skype to develop their software for Treo... Again, it's just a hunch...

6
by Dirk Spiers | May 2, 2005 3:34:56 AM

Instead of kicking and blaming Skype, blame Palm for not making a device which can run Skype in the first place.

First we/they need a WiFi Treo, then someone can write programs to use the WiFi portion of the Treo.

At the moment Skype for the Treo would be useless because it could not get a high speed connection to the internet in the first place.

Strange you left that out in your story

7
by Andrew | May 2, 2005 9:12:07 AM

Thanks Dirk,

The most important thing for me was not the fact that Skype cannot run _today_ on our Treo but that no efforts (according to their public statements) are being made to develop Skype for _any_ PalmOS handheld (for example Tungsten T5 with WiFi 'could' have Skype).

My point is that I would like to see all the parties involved working to make this a reality in a future Treo and not having Skype dismissing PalmOS developments the way it is currently doing.

Cheers, A.

8
by Muhammad Waqaruddin | May 12, 2005 1:56:51 PM

I am intresested in purchasing the battery charger for Model 180Treo.
If oyu can please do inform me about the price and the how it can be delievered to me in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

9
by Ken | May 13, 2005 4:21:10 AM

Skype DOES work over GPRS. I have successfully used both Skype and Skype-Out on my laptop, connected to Cingular's EDGE GPRS network through my unlocked Treo 650 via bluetooth DUN (dialup networking). Depending on your connection/signal strength, your latency will vary; though under optimal conditions, both Skype and Skype-Out were definitely "usable". If Skype Mobile was available for PalmOS and you happened to be so inclined, it -could- be a viable option to use Skype-Out at $0.02/min instead of burning your peak minutes. (Not to mention the added benefit of encrypted voice communication to other Skype enabled treo users).

10
by Bruce Grant | Jun 15, 2005 12:18:36 PM

I know I'm late to this discussion but I've got to say that as a software engineer, the Palm OS 5 platform is terrible. I love the Treo. I like using it, I like the form factor, I think it's the best smart phone on the market. Yet, the Palm OS is undoubtedly the least capable OS on the market today and it prohibits the creation of many solutions that are straight forward on competing OS platforms. Just FYI.

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