Developer: Skype Communications S.a.r.l
Price: free Download on the App Store
There was a big splash when Skype was announced for the iPhone. It seemed like the perfect combination. The device that revolutionized smart phones paired up with the service that has changed how some make calls and instant message. But does it work?
It depends. If you are already a heavy Skype user the iPhone app will work as a great complement to your service. The features are well thought out and will keep you connected to your Skype contacts when away from the computer. However, Skype is limiting and will by no means eliminate the need for you to make calls through your AT&T service (however poor the reception may be). And remember you will have to be on Wi-Fi to make Skype calls — no Skype calls over 3G or EDGE.
The Skype iPhone app is very functional and has an interface that will be easy for newbies to figure out and for existing Skype users to integrate to. Don't have an account? You can create one right from the iPhone app (some apps make you visit a web page to do so, so this is a great addition). Existing Skype user? After logging on your contacts and the familiar set of status messages and icons will be at your disposal.
Call quality was good overall. I felt like I was just talking on my phone as if I was on the AT&T network (without all the annoying dropped calls). The IM system is effective and will allow you to stay in touch with your Skype contacts. But like other applications there is no notification of a Skype call or IM unless you open the app. It will be interesting to see how the Skype iPhone app changes when the iPhone software moves to version 3.0.
Skype has its place, but it is by no means a replacement for your mobile service. And given what it costs in monthly service charges for the iPhone, you may not be eager to fork over extra money to Skype for additional minutes to call your friends, contacts and family members. For Skype fans, however, it will likely be a great bonus to have this service now on their iPhones.