Just a week after VoIP leader Skype pulled down its VoIP applications for Windows Mobile, the company is embracing another mobile platform: Skype is now available for Symbian phones, it works over both Wi-Fi and 3G wireless connections, and the app is available for free from Skype directly or from the Nokia Ovi Store.
“With Skype for Nokia smartphones, more than 200 million smartphone users worldwide will be able to take the Skype features they love with them on the move,” said Skype’s general manager for mobile Russ Shaw, in a statement. “Alongside Skype’s relationships with operators and handset manufacturers worldwide, making Skype available direct to consumers will help millions of users keep in contact with the people that are important to them without worrying about the cost, distance or whether they are away from a computer.”
Users of the Symbian application will be able to place free Skype-to-Skype calls from their mobile phones (although operator charges for data service may apply), as well as do instant messaging, share items (like pictures, files, and video), receive calls to their existing Skype number, and pick up names and contacts from their phone’s built-in address book. A full list of supported handsets is available from Skype’s Web site; supported models include most Nokia touchscreen phones (including the Nokia N97, Nokia N97 mini, Nokia X6, Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and Nokia 5530) along with a bevy of non-touchscreen Nokia devices.
The Symbian app is just the latest in a series of major moves on the mobile front for Skype: although the company just dropped its Windows Mobile apps (saying they just couldn’t make a decent Skype experience on Windows Mobile), the company recently inked a major partnership with Verizon to bring Skype to BlackBerry devices and some Android phones in the United States. Wireless carriers have traditionally been wary of VoIP services like Skype because they produce greater network traffic and decrease the number of voice minutes customers user; however, as operators upgrade their data networks, they’re coming to see Skype and VoIP services as a way to get customers to spend more on data plans.