Let’s tackle the first one – it has been announced that Skype will indeed be available for the iPhone, and as a free application at that!
Though it has been possible to Skype on an iPhone via 3rd party tools, it’s quite a revelation that it will officially be available on the iPhone now. Along with the recent software upgrade announcement (iPhone OS 3.0), it seems like iPhone is finally acknowledging that they may have serious competition in the market.
For some such as myself who’s Mother lives in Spain, being able to Skype without using a laptop is fantastic news. The only setback is me having a 1st generation iPod Touch so I’ll have to use earphones, but still, that’s quite a revelation.
For those people with iPhones and 2nd generation iPod Touch devices it opens up a whole new world of cost free telecommunications, especially considering Play have just started selling the iPhone SIM FREE! This has been confirmed by Apple and is not just wishful thiking on Play’s part!
That’s right, for the bargain price of £599.99 you can go to Play.com and get yourself a sim free iPhone. Add that to official Skype functionality and you have quite the non-O2 proposition. Of course you need a Wi-Fi connection because one of the benefits of having an iPhone on O2 is the unlimited use of Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile internet. You could always make all your calls in McDonalds!
Those with mobile contracts from other networks that do include mobile internet could find this a very tempting offer and there is always the cheaper option of the 8GB model for just £549.99!
Of course the appearance of this version of the iPhone sim free on Play just adds fuel to the rumours that there will be a new iPhone by summer.
Pocket Link are reporting that O2 are not ruling out the Nokia N97. In an earlier blog I wrote about O2 and Orange not wanting to stock the Nokia N97 due to it being pre-loaded with Skype.
O2 backing down?
If I were a betting man I’d bet that O2 will most definitely be stocking the Nokia N97, after realising how customer unfriendly their previous stance was. Nothing from Orange yet, but they have to follow suit now, or stick out as the only operator resisting modern technology – not something customers will find endearing.
CNET are reporting that mobile operators O2 and Orange may not stock the Nokia N97 which has Skype pre-loaded on the phone. They are worried that the ability to Skype will be at a detriment to the number of voice calls being used, and paid for.
With extra Skype but fewer operators
I think they need to look at the target audience for the Nokia N97 and realise that if these people want to use Skype on their phone they are going to have it on their phone whether it comes pre-loaded or whether they have to get it themselves. There is also the fact that the N97 won’t be sold on a cheap contract anyway, so they will make their money as soon as the customer signs on the dotted line.
If is true it’s not a good precedent, they need to embracing these technologies and ingratiating themselves with the potential customer base. Skype is just the first of many applications that may threaten the traditional mobile phone model – mobile phone companies are going to have to strategise to include these or risk outdating themselves compared to companies that do see what the customer wants. It may not be an easy ride, but it’s there really is no other choice.