You’ve seen the posters, and the words ‘free calls’ remain etched into the memory as you wonder gripping your current contract-sucking handset, whether you should get in on the action.
Before you consider taking the plunge into the world that is Skype, here are 10 things we think you should know about it.
1) How does it work?
Founded by the people that brought you the once file-to-file sharing network marvel that was Kazaa, Skype is a VoIP application easily downloadable to your desktop PC or in the case of a Skype-friendly mobile like the iPhone, through the Apple iTunes Store. Using your current internet connection, all you have to do is grab your headset with microphone, hit the green button, and you are ready to call people across the world for free.
2) It’s free, well mostly
Chatting to a fellow Skype user whether through your computer or Skype-enabled device will set you back the pricely sum of nothing. But before you dump your contract phone, it will cost you a small fee to talk to someone who is not on Skype. You can own local numbers in a host of countries, with your calls to the number charged at the same rate as calls to fixed lines in your own country. Services like SkypeIn and SkypeOut are the route to contacting people on their existing mobile numbers or land-line numbers. It may sound silly, but ensure you know enough people on Skype to fully embrace the service.
3) Skyping all over the world
3) Skyping all over the world
Essentially what is great about Skype is being able to talk to your long distant relatives in Oz without the pain of the long-distance charge. That is however not the case for every country. Skype is built on a closed protocol which translated means all equipment used is made by the company but also means that a country like China bans the use of Skype. Having recently refused the allowance of Wi-Fi handsets, over fears users would add internet phone services such as Skype to make calls, unofficially it was claimed that it was because they could not track calls. So if you got mates in China you are hoping to talk to for free you may need to think again.
4) Skype devices
Along with Skype sitting on your toolbar on your PC, mobile network provider 3 provides a series of Skypephone handsets, while the PSP via its Wi-Fi connection can also be used for your free calling. Rumours that Skype could be moving to the DSi have been fierce with the Nintendo claming they did not want to develop a mobile service which required a monthly contract. Also available as an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, it has proved one of their most popular downloads surpassing more than one million downloads, that’s six downloads every second and a clear sign of its popularity.
5) Skype plugins
Much like the Apple’s App Store, Skype has its own place to add more life to your Skype life and make it more than just a place to chat freely. Built with open developer API, it is a free-for-all for those who want to create plugins and add-ons for Skype and go on sale to other users. So if you fancy a spot of chess with your pal in the Ukraine or chilling out to some tunes on Last.fm, simply head to the Skype Extras store and take a browse.
6) Skype mobiles
Tags: about, know, should, Skype, things
Posted August 3rd, 2009 in News by Michael