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Skype Releases PocketPC Version Of VoIP Software 144

An anonymous reader writes "According to, Skype Technologies has launched a free beta release of peer-to-peer voice calling software for WiFi-enabled handheld devices running Microsoft's Pocket PC software platform. PocketSkype is a 'thin' version of Skype, the company's original peer-to-peer voice-calling for Windows PCs which was released in August 2003. Like Skype, PocketSkype can be used to make free, unlimited, and unmetered calls anywhere in the world."
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Skype Releases PocketPC Version Of VoIP Software

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  • by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:06PM (#8793746) Homepage Journal
    brought to you by the malkers of kazaa

    is there any spyware for the pocketpc that predates? I hope they got a patent on it..
  • How is this new? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:07PM (#8793752)
    How is this diferent then the VOIP software that came with my PocketPC?
    • Re:How is this new? (Score:5, Informative)

      by EulerX07 ( 314098 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:11PM (#8793814)
      Can someone behind a firewall/router call you using that VOIP software? The one reason I started using skype is that my other software didn't work from behind my d-ling router.
      • Dont realy know, I never used the stuff. I for one think that using a PDA to try and make phone calls is a rather poor idea. Given that I would need to use my cell phone to get a reliable internet connection anyways, whats the point?
        • You could use a WI-FI adapter and make free calls from hot-spots or at home.
          • "You could use a WI-FI adapter and make free calls from hot-spots or at home."

            Sure this is interesting but strikes me as almost completely useless to the vast majority of people. It's sort of like discovering that a payphone near your house is broken and allows free calls. Wow, that's cool for a while then you realize that you want to be able to make phone calls from wherever you are at the moment and not have to first travel to a specific location. That's why we have mobile phones. And anyone with a
    • Re:How is this new? (Score:5, Informative)

      by sh0rtie ( 455432 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:25PM (#8793973)

      how about its not free? , check out the EULA []

      You acknowledge that certain functions in the Skype Software are only available to paid subscribers after a free trial period of the Skype Software and Services (the "Free Trial Period") ends. After the Free Trial Period ends, you will be presented with the option to subscribe to the Subscription Services. If you do not wish to subscribe, you acknowledge that you can not access functions and services only available to paid subscribers. To subscribe to the Subscription Services you must agree to the terms and conditions of the Subscription Services.

      then they effectivly go on to say you ok them from any spyware concerns but unknown 3rd parties will have access to your machine


      why are we giving this time again ? next up on slashdot Gator/Claria bring you free VOIP ?

      • Well, third parties like other people using VoIP softare might want "to communicate with your computer", and you probably want them to.
      • by adolf ( 21054 ) <> on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @03:00PM (#8795238) Journal

        "Communicate with [...] outside parties" == talk to the people who call you on your lovely new Skype kit, perchance? (after all, the whole point is to communicate with third parties, isn't it? or did you just want to talk to the folks at Skyper all day?)

        "Distributed by third parties". Third parties, eh? Like tucows and c|net? Those third parties? Or maybe they mean "third parties" like those promiscuous P2P folks that allow the system to work in the first place. This sounds Really Dangerous. Really.

        "Skyper will not be liable for damage". I mean. No shit. The GPL has similar verbiage, and so does every other bit of boilerplate in the world.

        How you manage to read promises of spyware into those paragraphs, I'll never know.

        • maybe "3rd parties" is too broad a description as "other skype users communicating" were specifically identified in section 3 of the EULA , the "third parties" later on effectivly overides this so why bother mentioning skpe users specifically earlier ? exactly which 3rd parties are which ?

          but this highlights the trust issue with Skype, even the first poster said "spyware on pocket pc's !!"
          because thats instantly what comes to mind when mentioning these people in the tech community.

          perhaps cos we know the
    • Do these apps use any standards like RFC3261 SIP, connect to VoiceXML, etc, or all they all using some kind of closed proprietary protocol?
  • Suddenly... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Knight Thrasher ( 766792 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:08PM (#8793773) Journal
    Suddenly, WiFi monitoring becomes incredibly worthwhile.
    • Re:Suddenly... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mr100percent ( 57156 ) * on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:20PM (#8793923) Homepage Journal
      Skype's FAQ [] states that the software uses end-to-end encryption for the phone call.

    • yes, it does seem like it will become worthwhile, but at the same time, how are you supposed to know who someone is connected too if you only get a name like murphylee69@kazza???

      Or will this Voice over IP over WiFi have a DNS phonebook that someone can use to look up the name of someone registered to the IP that gets sniffed out of the intercepted packets?
    • Re:Suddenly... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by homer_ca ( 144738 )
      Suddenly, WiFi monitoring becomes incredibly worthwhile

      Well considering the pitiful range of most handheld Wifi cards, you'd do better to just walk up to the guy and eavesdrop on his conversation. It's not like people talking on cellphones in public are trying very hard to speak softly. More often they're obnoxiously loud like "look at me. I'm important because I'm discussing important business on my cellphone"
    • Especially if you can locate places to make VOIP calls from, or zones where this is allowed.
    • I don't know about that. Back in the day I used to drive around with a handheld radio scanner listening to cordless phones. 99.8% of what I heard was pretty mundane and uninteresting. It got boring fast.
    • Suddenly, WiFi monitoring becomes incredibly worthwhile.

      According to the FAQ, they use AES for the block cipher, and the session key is handled using RSA. MitM attacks against the RSA, are handled by using Skype's server as a trusted introducer.

      So.. attack the server. ;-)

      Ok, now that the "attack the server" joke is out of the way, chew on this: I bet the government will be allowed access to the server, should it be deemed necessary. I wonder who else will have access. I bet nobody will ever know.

  • Not too shabby! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JLavezzo ( 161308 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:12PM (#8793826) Homepage
    Hey don't rag on them too badly! They are Hiring Linux Developers [].
    KDEphone here we come!
    • there is already a bunch of SIP talking linux soft-phones and supporting software.

      kphone []
      linphone []

      some other supporting software
      galago []
      sarp []
      sipimp []

      look at the freeworlddialup forums for lots of chatter about SIP softphones and using images on cisco hardware.
      assorted other softphone downloads here. []
      • I guess you meant irrelevant... :)

        I know what you mean. Mostly I couldn't resist pointing out that SOMEONE was actually hiring for Linux in this lousy job market!

        I had the impression that this phone app would connect you to a physical telephone. If not, anything that isn't an extension of Gaim, Kopete, or Jabber is a waste of time. (not that I'm working on one)

        (I'd also just changed my sig and wanted to post something)

        • your spelling correction is clearly relevant :D (I'll actually spell check things this time)

          I haven't seen too many problems with people out of work in linux (well.. lately anyway). I've seen a lot of consulting and contracting ops and contract-to-hire positions popping up for the last six months, and in the last three months fairly heavily. Good times should be back soon, methinks.

          I was even inspired to ramble briefly in my lame blog [], and one of the projects I linked to above did incorporate SIP into
  • Voiceware released one like this in 2001.
  • free phone calls ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:14PM (#8793851)

    sounds like they need to watch their advertising standards, unless i can phone any telephone number in the world - for free , anytime
    otherwise its just a long range walkie talkie

    • Ditto! Without a free-beer bridge to other "phone" systems, this isn't practical for anything but walkie-talkie like service. It's like my friend who brags that he saves so much money with his internet phone, yet he still has to run to the corner pay phone to call us to brag.
      • Well, at the moment Skype is saving me over GBP50 a month in international call charges, so I couldn't give a flying fuck whether it's a 'proper' phone or just a walkie talkie.

        When I want to brag about it to the great unwashed, I can just send a text to them :)

  • Xpro + Asterisk (Score:3, Informative)

    by calle69 ( 646100 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:15PM (#8793860)
    Why not use xten software? xpro for pocket pc connected directly to your asterisk server.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:17PM (#8793886)
    The FCC has been muttering about/threatening to regulate VoIP as telephony. This would allegedly have some "benefits" like 911 service working from VoIP and "reliability" but it seems like it is impossible to offer free calling service under FCC regulation, much like it is impossible to have a new drug approved by the FDA without tons of money behind it, even if the drug itself is non-commercial. Hopefully the regulators at the FCC will stay away from VoIP until it is so entrenched that it will be tough to stop, like P2P services.

    Free mobile porn []

    • The FCC has been muttering about/threatening to regulate VoIP as telephony. This would allegedly have some "benefits" like 911 service working from VoIP and "reliability" [...]

      My impression was that the telephone companies were going to court and DEMANDING that the FCC regulate VoIP as telephony, and the FCC was doing its flat-out damdest to fight this, since the current FCC is hell-bent to keep the government's hands off the interenet (including especially hands in the other branches and levels of governm
  • Systems clashing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Viceice ( 462967 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:19PM (#8793906)
    The way this is going, it feels more and more that mobile data and communications is going to a very critical place.

    On one end we have giant phone companies with large infrastructure assets trying to push tech like G3 and GPRS with a very high per minute/packet charge over cellular networks.

    On the other hand, we have hotspots sprouting up all over the place with subscriptions going from nothing to a cup of coffee. While coverage is still spotty, its capabilities are blurring, with everything from voice to data being possible over IP.

    Developments would be interesting to watch.
  • what fuss? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by maxbang ( 598632 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:19PM (#8793912) Journal

    I don't understand the fuss about all of this VOIP stuff. I still can call only another VOIP user at this point, right? If that's the case, there are plenty of tools out there already that enable this, even on PocketPC, which an earlier post pointed out. I'd rather pay my $50 a month for my cell and call anyone I want from wherever I want. I do value the aspect of getting everyone to switch to VOIP, which is what I think skype (among others) are trying to do. Once that happens and that wimax stuff takes off, then we'll be much better off, methinks.

    • All the various voip apps are incompatable too. You cant use skype to talk to someone with netmeeting or cucme or whatever else.

      They're trivial apps, really. Open port - send sound - playback sound. I don't know why a geek site is all wound up about it.
      • Exactly - thanks for bringing that up. Standards, people! And open ones, at that.

        I'm glad you asked and yes, I do excel at whining about problems without offering a solution.

    • The world does not stop at the edge of the 48 contiguous states. For people with contacts in Alaska, Hawai, Canada, Mexico and on other continents, Skype is a blessing.

      Unless you know of a $50 month calling plan for unlimited international calls?

      • Re:what fuss? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by maxbang ( 598632 )

        Sadly, for me most of the world does indeed end at the US borders. I was born here, but most of my family's back in India. For me to use this product to contact them, they would have to purchase a computer and get online in a place where electricity is spotty at best. They can, however, get a relatively cheap cell phone and I can call them for about five bucks (sixty a year). I understand your point and see how this can be useful for wired countries, but for most of the rest of the world skype is moot.

    • Re:what fuss? (Score:2, Informative)

      there are plenty of tools out there already that enable this

      Yeah, but these guys claim better voice quality. IP does not offer real-time guarantees theoretically, so it means that there is a lot of flexibility in trying to get the best implementation of Voice-over-IP. And from personal experience, Skype calls sound much better than say, Yahoo! Voice chat.

      What beats me is their claim about being peer-to-peer? What's peer to peer in voice chat? Unless they find the best route using all these peers, which d

      • Peer to peer means the other end must use Skype software as well. So this really isn't VOIP in the normal sense, whereas with a Vonage line, I can call any phone number. And the lack of a real-time guarantee is more or less fully made up by the speed of home broadband now.
      • The "peer-to-peer" claim refers to the fact that lookups, data traffic, encryption, and routing is all accomplished without any reference to central servers. Skype therefore should not be vulnerable to typical network scaling issues -- it could support a HUGE number of users, since the users themselves provide all the network capacity.

        Typical VOIP, on the other hand, is centrally served; at least the routing (and sometimes all of the traffic) is done by a central server. That central service has to get VER
    • Skype requires Skype on both ends.

      VOIP (i.e. Vonage) does not. VOIP provides a phone/voip gateway that switches your analog phone signal to data and sends it on to another VOIP gateway that switches your call back to analog.

      This is Skype (or their marketing dept.) calling their Internet phone software VOIP.

      • Thanks for clearing that up.

      • In what way is Skype not VOIP? It provides Voice over Internet Protocol, which seems to satisfy the requirements of calling something "VOIP".
        • Technically, yes. I guess it's just in my mind that VOIP means I can use it like a normal telephone. I've used skype twice to talk to a friend in Michigan, it works pretty well. But I don't want to have to sit at my computer to talk, nor do I want to have to call my friend on POTS to walk them through installing skype before I can talk to them on it. Not that it's tough, but I have some very non-pc-literate friends...

          If I didn't have a cell, I'd have vonage for sure, though.

  • but (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:20PM (#8793921) Journal
    Like Skype, PocketSkype can be used to make free, unlimited, and unmetered calls anywhere in the world.

    Only to other running instances of skype though, or does it interface with POTS for free (doubt it)?

    I mean, cool and all, but what's skype got that netmeeting/cucme/et al haven't had forever?
    • Re:but (Score:4, Informative)

      by pestie ( 141370 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:52PM (#8794304) Homepage
    • Scheme to get around firewalls. Usability. Encryption. The momentum to make it big? High quality voice?
  • I am running around the office screaming like a girl right now.

    This is a good thing.

    We use smartphones at our work and do alot of house calls where are clients would always have highspeed internet with avalable wireless but not always cell service.

    Made my damn day.

    It just better work!
  • I tried this program and maybe I missed the point somewhere, but what is the big difference between this program and any other I.M. program that allows voice? It looks like it will only connect to other skype users, so what's the big? I would love to RTFA, but I am behind a proxy and can't get there (boo). Anyone want to illuminate this for me?
    • Skype is suppose to work with firewalls and proxy's. There is no need to reconfigure firewalls.
    • It works a hell of a lot better than any of the IM voip stuff we've tried. Effortlessly works through any manner of firewalls..

      Get this - calling my friend in Thailand over Skype, the call quality is better over his 28.8k connection than me calling him on the phone.

      Great piece of software.
    • Apr. 07, 2004

      Skype Technologies has launched a free beta release of peer-to-peer voice calling software for WiFi-enabled handheld devices running Microsoft's Pocket PC software platform. PocketSkype is a "thin" version of Skype, the company's original peer-to-peer voice-calling for Windows PCs which was released in August 2003. Like Skype, PocketSkype can be used to make free, unlimited, and unmetered calls anywhere in the world.

      "PocketSkype users need only an affordable headset to use their PDA for t
  • skype (Score:4, Interesting)

    by greysky ( 136732 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:22PM (#8793939)
    The company I work for uses skype for phonecalls (we all work from home). It's really handly, esp since we outsource some of the development work to India and Vietnam, and we can call the team leads over there at no cost.
    • The company that I work for uses skype to communicate between our sales people, our offices in the USA, UK, India, and Mexico and everything in between. The monetary savings on our long distance is well worth it. We'll probably even buy the service once it comes out of beta, unless we can manage to get *real* VoIP between our facilities at nearly the same cost.

      We would prefer not rely on an outside company for our phone infrastructure, but for the cost (free now), it can't be beat.

      Now if only there was
  • Now, I know everyone loves P2P, but why is this something new? Yahoo messenger, AIM, and MSN all provide the same functionality when it comes to voice chat with other users. Skype is just a dedicated voice chat client, with a smaller user base than any of the other current chat clients. Now, if Skype made some users share their modems (yes, I hear some people still use those things), then it would be a true P2P interface to the local phone system, which I believe is the only thing that could give Skype a
    • Now, if Skype made some users share their modems (yes, I hear some people still use those things), then it would be a true P2P interface to the local phone system, which I believe is the only thing that could give Skype a real chance. Any thoughts on this?

      Would a typical modem chipset be adequate for this? Assuming even a traditional Rockwell voicemodem.. I think you'd need to be running a FXO board [] or something
    • Perhaps some of us with unlimited local calling, might allow VOIP users to call locally using their lines -- within specified limits, I would assume. This makes sense, but I can't imagine the telcos, or internet-providers would allow it. Certainly turns telecom on it's ear, so to speak.
      • The problem is bigger then that. I would not want to share my local phone, since I would be liable for anything illegal coming from that phone. Common carrier protection would not apply, since I am not a registered provider of anything.

        P2P phones will not work due to that fact.
  • Pocket GPhone (Score:4, Informative)

    by mknewman ( 557587 ) * on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:30PM (#8794041)
    I've been using Pocket GPhone which comes on my Toshiba E805 for a few months now. You can check it out at The version I am using is 3.0 which is much, much better than the 1.0 version that comes on the E805. Works pretty well, with the typical pauses due to the network, and you do want to use it with a headset to prevent echoing, but the cool thing is they are hooked up to some sort of VoIP network and for $20 for 600 minutes you can make calls to virtually any phone. The rates for International calls are the best I have seen, anywhere. $0.05/min for most countries. You can use it for free for PDA-PDA (or even PC) calls for 60 days but then you have to pay them something to use their 'Buddy' service, but even then you can still make direct IP address based phone calls. No affiliation, just a relatively satisfied user. Marc
  • Can this program call telephones or just people on the network?
    • RTFA

      they will be adding that ability as a pay for use feature, as well as stuff like voicemail. PC to PC calls will always remain free however.
      • PC to PC calls will always remain free however.

        For unknown lengths of forever. If they control the servers and protocol, can't they just switch that off at any time? (Didn't Kazaa suddenly change protocols to freeze out some compatable apps once?)

  • Im reading alot while doing some searches on google that skype has spyware in it even tho if you go to their site they claim they dont.. im not talking pocket pc right now.. BUT i hear there are sleeping spyware dlls for skype on the pc.. ?? anyhow. on top of that. im about to launch a new sync system all your pocket pc owners if you want a beta hit us up at sorry for the shameless plug. :)
  • I think the next step is using skype with your current phone system and route calls. Maybe more to the PBX or Cisco's VoIP solution.
  • by PhrozenF ( 205108 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:43PM (#8794187)
    Read the entire story here on []. They have some interesting observation and comments too.

    "However, there are various issues raised over "voice-over Wi-Fi." Firstly, there isn't enough Wi-Fi coverage yet to make it feasible for the executives who are the primary users of pocket PCs to own only that device. Most people who would want to use that service need a reliable network. Also, the sound quality offered is poor."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I saw a number of posts stating that many Instant Messaging clients (or NetMeeting) already offer VoIP "telephone" services.

    Skype is better because:

    a) the voice quality is by far better, especially with narrow-band connections (I'm speaking form experience)

    b) Skype is able to get even through quite tightly configured firewalls, where NetMeeting, ICQ, MSN etc. have a number of problems that only can be solved by changing firewall settings.

  • by zapp ( 201236 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @01:53PM (#8794323)
    WiFive [] is another free VOIP app for PocketPC. With WiFive you can connect to other WiFive users, Netmeeting, or if you have your own Gatekeeper (call server), you can make calls through the PSTN as well.
    • This would be really cool in combination using something along the lines of Vonage, to allow you to make a call from anywhere and route it to POTS anywhere in the US/Canada for a flat fee. An interesting concept to say the least, allowing you to call anyone from anywhere wi fi is offered. Wonder how it works with the Asterix PBX as a gate keeper?
  • I'm "stuck" with my Toshiba e550g genio - I love the screen, and it's got a 400MHz XScale CPU, but there is no 2003 upgrade for it. PPC2002 is as far as it goes. I don't understand why, or what the difference there between it and a PocketPC that is upgradable to WM2003.
    How hard would it be to put linux on this thing ?
  • Nice program (Score:2, Interesting)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 )
    Great, but now can we _please_ have a unix port!?
  • Free? Skype? PSTN? (Score:3, Informative)

    by muonzoo ( 106581 ) on Wednesday April 07, 2004 @04:57PM (#8796736) Homepage
    Like Skype, PocketSkype can be used to make free, unlimited, and unmetered calls anywhere in the world.

    For some values of anywhere. As long as anywhere means "another Skype client" or "paying for a PSTN termination".
    Skype rhymes with Hype for a good reason.
  • If you don't mind a bit more messing around and can deal mentally with the stress of not actually having something that "makes calls", check out TeamSpeak [] or Ventrilo [], both great voice communications packages.

    I don't get what's so awesome about a peer-to-peer voice communications system. The fact that its encrypted sure is neat, but it doesn't seem to be a quantum leap over most of the other stuff we have now. Its not like a regular p2p system where you're going to get massive advantages - each voice call

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury