Tag Archives | Skype

How Big a Deal is Skype on Verizon?

I’m not sure if this is just an intriguing partnership or a major moment in phone history. But at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Verizon Wireless and Skype announced that they’re working together to bring Skype to nine BlackBerry and Android phones on the Verizon network. A version of Skype Mobile will be available next month, permitting free Skype-to-Skype calls, chatting, and Skype Out calls to any phone number, including cheap international rates. And it’ll all be done using flat-rate data plans rather than phone minutes.

There’s nothing inherently historic about Skype being available on phones–it’s on the iPhone (albeit over Wi-Fi only right now) and I first used the service on a Windows Mobile handset years ago. (Only briefly, though–it taxed the phone to the breaking point, and voice quality was pretty miserable.)

But a major carrier such as Verizon not only grudgingly permitting Skype but buddying up with it as a selling point for its phones is an interesting twist. I look forward to trying Skype Mobile on my Droid when it’s available. And I have a few questions in the meantime…

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Verizon, Skype Cozying Up?

Skype may finally be making some headway in the cell phone industry, as the company announced along with Verizon later on Friday a press conference scheduled for Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The two companies are expected to announce a deal that would put the Skype software on Verizon’s cellular phones.

Mobile carriers have generally pushed back in allowing Skype usage on their phones, fearing consumers would use the service to save money by negating the need for more minutes in their voice plans. Even AT&T up until the most recent SDK for the iPhone was giving the VoIP provider the cold shoulder. However, with consumers increasingly using their data side of their plans over the voice side, now may be the time to relax these restrictions in favor of generating more revenue.

The first carrier to allow Skype onto its phones was Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, whose 3 subsidiary began adding Skype in 2007. The addition of Skype has been said to have attracted “hundreds of thousands” of new customers to the service.

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5Words for Tuesday, September 1st 2009

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eBay rids itself of Skype.

Windows 6.5 phones: October 6th.

Are these Chrome OS screens?

Nokia music service launch delayed.

IE’s loss is Firefox’s gain.

Sony bundles Chrome on PCs.

Chrome gets desktop notification system.

Psystar sues Apple (yes, again).

Snow Leopard, in amazing depth.

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Oprah Plugs Skype

skypelogoI’m not exactly sure what Oprah’s affinity as of late for putting her media weight behind several techologies, but she’s doing it again with Skype, the popular VoIP service.

Oprah’s show does use Skype on certain occassions to interview guests and the company is a sponsor, but producers stress that had nothing to do with Oprah selecting the technology to cover in a show.

Instead, “the idea originated from our producers who wanted to see what extreme places they could Skype into and also how they could use this far-reaching technology to surprise viewers,” a Harpo spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal.

Some of the spots Oprah will be interviewing guests from are a Canadian town near the North Pole, a submarine, and a Wi-Fi equipped Virgin America plane. It should be mentioned that Virgin actually forbids Skype video chats typically in flights, but I guess Mr. Branson is making an exception for the Queen of All Media.

I don’t think Skype will get the boost that Kindle did from its Oprah debut as the technology is much more established. However it certainly won’t hurt either.


5Words for April 15th, 2009

5wordsMy taxes? Filed. Whew! You?

More about Zune HD. Maybe.

eBay: we’re spinning off Skype.

Net neutrality? Now now, please!

Amazon.com: a third of e-commerce.

AT&T wants more iPhone exclusivity.

Microsoft patches up Office holes.

Philips: Two dimensions are enough.

I’m afraid to use ATMs.

Miss Circuit City? Just wait.

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5Words for April 13th, 2009

5wordsHey, it’s Monday the thirteenth!

Meet Twitter-annoying teen Mikeyy.

Prince’s $2100 purple iPod Touch.

Amazon: hiding gay-themed books?

Skype should sell to founders.

Vizio may face import ban.

iPod Shuffle is 72% profit.

Palm readying inductive-charging accessories?

Two potential Pre shipping dates.

Windows 7: securest operating system?

Microsoft kills on-campus bar.

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5Words for March 31st, 2009

5wordsBig 5Words news coming tomorrow!

Skype for iPhone now available.

Google gets into venture capital.

American Airlines: Wi-Fi almost everywhere.

Sorry, no Android tethering, please.

Microsoft announces Windows Phone partners.

Ahoy, matey: iPhone app pirates.

Lauren: happy PC? Can’t say!

Shure’s new headphones: they rock.

A cheaper PS2. Starting tomorrow.

Firefox is top European browser.

Netflix raises price for Blu-Ray.

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5Words for March 24th, 2009

5wordsNews, hot off the grill:

In defense of Facebook’s redesign.

Dell’s working on smaller devices.

Google Street View: Kill it!

A cloud-based game console.

Skype: biggest long-distance carrier.

A botnet that attacks Linux.

Warner’s made-to-order DVDs.

iPhone keyboard, no jailbreaking required.

Peek’s new not-a-phone.

Voice-driven Eee PCs soon?

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5Words for February 17th, 2009

5wordsExcept for phones, pretty quiet:

Facebook: Users control their info.

Pirate Bay escapes some charges.

One charger for every phone.

Nokia puts Skype on phones.

Satellite radio may sidestep bankruptcy.

Card counting’s easier with iPhone.

Toshiba buys Fujitsu drive business.

Canon sues over fake blogger.

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A Brief History of Internet Outages

Someday we’ll all tell our grandkids about what we were doing during the great Gmail outage of August 11th, 2008. Well, okay, probably not–Google’s e-mail service was down for only a couple of hours, which is relatively brief as Internet outages go. But when one of the world’s most popular mail systems goes missing even briefly, zillions of people are inconvenienced and want to share their frustration. In a weird way, it’s a huge compliment: If Gmail wasn’t essential, nobody would care if it went away.

For a dozen years or so now, the Internet has been a mainstream communications medium, and its history has been pockmarked with examples of big-time services choking for extended periods–often a lot longer than today’s Gmail blip. The most famous examples of unplanned downtime have a lot in common: They usually last longer than anyone expected and get blamed on cryptic technical glitches. Almost always, angry consumers announce they’re done with the service in question; almost always, the service eventually recovers.

Oh, and one more thing: The biggest and most embarrassing failures all seem to happen during the summer months. Maybe technology, like human beings, just doesn’t work quite as hard when the weather’s hot and there are distractions like baseball games, picnics, and vacations to contemplate.

Now that Gmail’s back, it’s worth recapping a few other outages that made headlines when they happened–and since the ones that follow are in alphabetical order, they begin with maybe the most famous one of all (hint: it involved a company whose initials are A.O.L.)…

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