Skype Opts For VoIP

Gretchen Gallen
LUXEMBOURG – Skype Technologies is preparing to take the Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) industry by storm and went public this week with a new handheld gadget called PocketSkype designed for wireless broadband. With Skype software, voice calls are carried over Wi-Fi hotspots and the Internet.

Skype, one of the founding fathers of file-sharing network Kazaa, is calling its new gizmo a form of peer-to-peer (P2P) telephony because users create their own groups with which to exchange mobile calls over data networks.

Skype's broadening presence in the area of high-end VoIP gadgetry comes at a time when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is still discussing what role the U.S. government should play in the rollout of VoIP services, which pose a formidable threat to traditional telephone carriers that don't adapt themselves to the interplay between telecommunications and the Internet.

In bypassing telephone lines and switches, VoIP falls through the cracks of the typical regulatory and taxation process regular carriers are subject to.

In the meantime, Skype and other technology companies like Vonage, SoftAir Microsystems, Cisco, Nortel Networks, and Verizon have moved forward into the VoIP space with increasing numbers of products and equipment just waiting to capitalize on the widening acceptance of data telephony services.

PocketSkype is powered by a 400 MHz processor with Wi-Fi capability. The software runs on the Microsoft PocketPC OS platform and users get instant messaging over GPRS networks along with the same functionality of a personal digital assistant (PDA).

However, the Skype user needs a Wi-Fi card and account and must be in relation to a hotspot or tower in order for the gadget to fully function.

Skype says that it is busy working on other operating systems that can offer users multilingual wireless broadband services.