Skype testing software for mobile phones

Skype is looking to expand its mobile offerings and is opening up a public beta for its mobile software.

About 50 different phone models are compatible with the Java-based software. It allows users to chat, show their online presence, and receive both calls from other users as well as through SkypeIn.

The company had been distancing itself from mobile Skype due to handset and technical issues for some time. However it now appears those hurdles have been overcome, and the VoIP software is ready for prime time on mobile devices.

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Mobile operator 3 during that time brought Skype to the mobile, however it was not true VoIP as it is commonly found. Instead, the voice signals flowed through a separate voice channel on the company's network.

During the beta, the company will use consumer feedback to adjust the product to meet the needs of its users. Users in several markets also get additional features, including the placing of SkypeOut and Skype-to-Skype calls.

Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom will all have markets that gain those additional features. The beta is expected to last several months.

"We need to hear what delights them and where there is still work to be done," mobile chief Gareth O'Loughlin said of the beta. "This product underscores our commitment to innovation and to putting Skype conversations in the pockets of today's mobile masses."

Those interested in the beta can find instructions on how to obtain the software from the Skype Web site.

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