Skype for Windows Mobile released their Beta 2.5 Tuesday with improved sound quality, better stability and a more intuitive user interface. The Windows Mobile application adheres to the familiar, full Skype on personal computers with free calls to Skype contacts, free instant messaging, and the functionality to call phones and mobiles with Skype Credit or a subscription. Skype Lite for Mobile was also announced available for download. The original "thin client" was released in April, and is now available for a wider selection of mobile phones. As it does not require a smartphone, WiFi, or a computer connection, the application functionality is much different from the PC or Windows Mobile version: Skype contact calls, IM and international calls still take standard plan minutes, but do not add any long distance charges. The Lite Beta works only on compatible models from LG, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
Luxembourg-based Skype Tech created the most widely-utilized Voice Over IP software in 2003. While the basic functionality remains the same, allowing Skype members to IM and voice chat for free, they have added video functionality as well as paid features. Skype credit can be bought in specific amounts, or monthly subscriptions are available. These subscriptions have different price levels that allow for unlimited calls to the US and Canada, to Mexico, or worldwide. The fair usage limit is 10,000 minutes, depending on the plan and countries called.
As surprising as Microsoft's support for VOIP on Windows Mobile is, it simply betrays Microsoft's efforts to maintain a hold on the smartphone market despite the growing iPhone institution. This support reminds the community of the initial shock of no Skype support on the iPhone. The iPhone App Store is becoming notorious for shutting out timely programs on pretense of AT&T contract or conflict or redundancy, and this is no exception. Microsoft more inclusive than Apple? How ironic.