I use Skype mainly as a chat system, but now and again I use it for telephone calls, indeed it was all set up to record an interview with a major Hollywood actor, until that fell through.
So when I noticed Skype for Windows Mobile come out I didn’t instantly download it and try it, but last night I did, and ran it to see how it went.
There were a few surprises, one being it worked perfectly, and it’s still in Beta. Microsoft take note.
Installing it on the phone couldn’t be easier, you just run the EXE file. My only complaint with these Windows Mobile installers is that they also install themselves into your PC’s Program Files – why is that? Okay so it gives me an easy uninstall option on the PC, but that’s on the phone. Why can’t it just install straight onto the phone and be done with it?
Once it was installed my XDA said okay and that was that. No restart or anything to configure, and I was wondering now what the catch was.
On the front screen there was now an option marked Skype with a status indicator next to it which you can hit and simply select your status.
I turned on WiFi, hit the Skype option, entered my username, password, and connection preference – always WiFi – and a few seconds later it was connected and downloaded all my contacts.
I went onto Filmstalker and checked the widget on the right hand side to see that I was marked as online.
Skype Windows Mobile also gives you a handy contact on your list, it’s a recording that speaks to you and then gives you the opportunity to record ten seconds of yourself which then plays back. It tests everything works, including the connection quality.
I left it on all afternoon and evening and carried it round the house, superb. However there were two problems.
One is that since the WiFi is on constantly and your phone remains off standby mode continuously, the battery did go down fast. Later that night the low battery warning came on and I had to disconnect and recharge.
The other issue was with heat. I was really concerned because my phone was very warm for all the time Skype was running. At first I thought it might be my hands being quite cold, but no, it was the phone, my partner confirmed it.
I presume this was because the Skype software is running constantly, WiFi is on constantly and the device is never allowed to go into standby mode.
Despite this I’m really taken with it. Now I have a viable alternative to the cordless phone. In fact I have a real mobile phone, now if there was only a free wireless network at my work (yes, I’ve mentioned work) then it really could be a fully roaming phone, connecting to my home and office whenever I’m there and operating from their networks.
Excellent product, and still in Beta. Some other software companies have a lot to learn.