Developer: Skype
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★★
User Interface Rating: ★★★★★
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

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iPhone users have been awaiting the release of this app since the phone was announced. Skype is a service that allows its users to make telephone calls over an internet connection. This means that you’re no longer limited to your voice plan’s restrictions as long as you’re using the service over a WiFi connection. Users can call other Skype users free of charge, while Skype to mobile calls can cost as little as $.021 cents a minute, or $2.95 a month. The obvious catch here is the necessity of being connected to the internet, as Skype will not work over 3G. Skype also works on the iPod touch, though users are required to have an external headset and microphone.

In typical Skype fashion, the interface of this app is beautiful. The app brings as many features to the table as it’s desktop counter part. With the option to use your iPhone’s contact list within Skype, you can make a call, start a chat, or browse contact profiles within just a few easy clicks. I’ve had nothing but perfect voice quality thus far and wouldn’t expect anything less from such a well known company and long awaited unveiling. For a VoIP client, there’s not a whole lot more to ask for here. Some users are reporting instability within the app, but I’ve yet to experience a crash, stutter, or dropped call. As a mobile client, Skype has certainly hit a home run here. It’s silky smooth feel and ease of use certainly makes this one of the “must haves” for the device. With the ominous cloud of the recession hanging over our heads, this is a picture perfect opportunity to drop your voice plan down a notch and save a few sheckles.

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It’s worth noting, however, that beta testers of the iPhone 3.0 software are able to make calls over 3G. The ability to function over 3G would be a welcome addition, though hard to see as feasible as it directly competes with AT&T’s voice plans. While unsure if this is a future feature or a simple bug, 3.0 user reports are also confirming a much higher rate of failure within the app. Jailbroken iPhones can hardly seem to get passed the sign-in screen, let alone make a phone call. Putting the screen to sleep or receiving a text message during a phone call also puts the call on an unexpected “hold.” This is likely to be fixed in future updates. Unfortunately, this app is unavailable for Canada.

It’s difficult to find any negatives with this app aside from it’s lengthy development time and necessity of a WiFi connection. Skype has created an intuitive application that goes hand in hand with both the service it offers and the device on which it’s intended. If you’re an iPhone and a Skype user, there’s no reason not to be utilizing this one. If not, this is a great opportunity to save a few bucks on your monthly bill and start using a fantastic VoIP client. Touting a pricetag of “absolutely free,” Skype gets nothing but high marks from this review.

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