page 2 of 4
Skype works on both mobile data connections (3G, 4G) and WiFi. To use Skype, one must either obtain a Skype or Microsoft account, which are free. The Skype application maintains a contact list, which also displays online users. One can also search for any Skype user. Recent calls and saved phone numbers are just a tap or click away, for convenience. It’s possible to block contacts, which comes in handy if you are being harassed by another Skype user.
When a Skype call is in progress, the user has a variety of options. One can switch between front and back cameras, if the device supports this functionality. Muting, ending the call, and switching to a voice-only mode are also supported.
Instant messaging is another feature in the Skype communication bundle. While it may be a handy way to send a text message, it is a bit superfluous. Most people will use SMS or email.
Skype has some privacy issues. In the course of the George Zimmerman trial, a witness testified via Skype. During the online chat, multiple people popped on-screen, requesting to chat with the witness. Skype allows anyone to request a chat as long as you know their username. You can deny access to a request, but it can be disruptive. It is possible to block contacts, but Skype should have a mode where only specific users can request a chat.
Skype is a standalone app, but it allows access to Contacts and the Address Book on iOS and OS X. Microsoft Outlook (previously known as Hotmail) contacts are also available to Skype.
Skype does not integrate with incoming calls on the iPhone, however it can forward calls to any phone number. To forward calls, one must purchase Skype credit.
Skype is an all-in-one VOIP and video conferencing system. By simply leaving the app running, it can receive calls and requests for video chats. For the frugal mobile user, this is a good option, however voice quality won’t be as good as using your smart phone’s carrier. For most people, it doesn’t make sense to use data plan bandwidth for voice calls. If you are frequently near WiFi hotspots, Skype can be cost-effective. One could even use an iPod Touch as a phone. This would only work over WiFi, however. (continue…)