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Skype Multitasks on iPhone; Voice Plans Useless

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 66 comments

You can finally ditch your voice plan, or at least downgrade it.

One of the most useful demonstrations about the iOS 4 is that it can multitask with VoIP applications such as Skype. As world travelers should know, Skype is essential to keeping in touch with those wherever you are, at the cheapest rates – as long as you have an internet connection.

With the option to purchase a virtual phone number complete with voicemail, you could actually scrap your landline in favor of using Skype. And now you can ditch your voiceplan too on your iPhone 3GS or 4.

Skype today finally rolled out Skype 2.0.1 for iOS devices, which will run in the background on multitasking enabled iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 (and some jailbroken iPhone 3G too).

"This means you can receive Skype calls while other apps are running, even when your iPhone is locked. And during a call, you can keep the conversation going while you switch to another task, such as checking a movie listing or reading an email," Skype's Peter Parkes wrote in the company blog. "We’ve also updated the app’s graphics to support iPhone 4’s Retina Display."

Perhaps even bigger news is that Skype has scrapped plans to charge for calls over 3G. It originally planned to created a new tier of service for users who wish to place calls over a 3G network, using data instead of voice minutes from the carrier. Now those plans have changed and 3G calling will be free – costing only the data from your provider.

With a virtual Skype number, you could in theory downgrade your voice plan to the very lowest level and rely purely on the data network for your voice communication.

Another interesting bit is that a third-generation iPod touch with Skype loaded is now a replacement for a VoIP phone while it is in Wi-Fi range.

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  • 0 Hide
    welshmousepk , July 22, 2010 9:34 AM
    Sold. i want one.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , July 22, 2010 9:38 AM
    good morning apple :)  what's new on this procedure, my good old n95 was able to do this lightyears back :) 
  • 6 Hide
    vizzie , July 22, 2010 9:40 AM
    Don't know how it is in the US, but here in Europe using data on your phone outside of the country you live in is WAAAAY expensive! You'd be better off just making a voice call when you're in another country.

    Could be interesting for calls within your country of origin and for receiving calls from abroad though....
  • 1 Hide
    tinnerdxp , July 22, 2010 9:45 AM
    to Welshmousepk - buy any other Android phone or good old N95...
    Plus, there is a chance these will not loose the 3G connection (needed for your Skype to work at all) when you hold it in your hand...
  • 0 Hide
    tinnerdxp , July 22, 2010 9:46 AM
    in other news - Apple invented a wheel...
    Enough of this apple crap - please...
  • 5 Hide
    welshmousepk , July 22, 2010 9:52 AM
    i already have a massive collection of games bought from the App store though (for my iPod touch).

    carrying around another device would be pointless, and i dont want to give up those games. (as much as i support android and the open market, the android store is no where near the app store in terms of quantity or quality of games)

    the ipod touch and separate phone made sense until now. but if i can get an iphone and make free calls over 3g? sounds good to me.
  • -1 Hide
    exodite , July 22, 2010 9:58 AM
    Now gief calling over Wifi.

    And an Android client.
  • 8 Hide
    andybird123 , July 22, 2010 9:58 AM
    welshmousepki already have a massive collection of games bought from the App store though (for my iPod touch). carrying around another device would be pointless, and i dont want to give up those games.


    "I've dug myself in to this massive whole, so rather than buy a device that actually works I'll keep on digging with my ispade"
  • 0 Hide
    chesterman , July 22, 2010 11:43 AM
    i wish there was a good and official skype app for android too. nimbus and others apps sucks in voice calls via skype network
  • 4 Hide
    JimmiG , July 22, 2010 11:44 AM
    A smart phone that multi tasks?! Revolutionary! Magical!
  • 6 Hide
    awood28211 , July 22, 2010 11:55 AM
    Skype uses data right? Wouldn't all that data with a heavy talker push you quite easily past your limit?
  • 2 Hide
    hixbot , July 22, 2010 12:13 PM
    Yes, you could scrap your voice plan, but you would need an unlimited data plan to cope with regular skype use. Unless you just planned to use it in wifi zones.
  • 4 Hide
    pirateboy , July 22, 2010 12:27 PM
    just scrap your iCrap
  • 2 Hide
    jimslaid2 , July 22, 2010 1:22 PM
    Why does everyone hate Apple again?
  • 1 Hide
    pocketdrummer , July 22, 2010 1:28 PM
    A more appropriate question would be, "Why do people have a fit when THW posts news on Apple."

    It's still TECH NEWS! Get over it.
  • 2 Hide
    oblivionlord , July 22, 2010 1:48 PM
    The problem is that the majority of people with cellphones don't use skype therefore if you want to talk to them even with this app, then you have to have Skype credits which still costs money. Therefore it's only free if its a Skype to Skype call.

    Big Deal
  • 2 Hide
    ecnovaec , July 22, 2010 1:50 PM
    no way! iPhone can finally do something Android has done since inception?! Go Apple!!!
  • 3 Hide
    tokenz , July 22, 2010 1:56 PM
    jimslaid2Why does everyone hate Apple again?


    Because they are restrictive piles that charge for every little dime they can. Because their hardware sucks and has problems, and instead of just admitting it and fixing the problem. They say everyone that has the problem is a moron and holds their phone wrong. Because they have became big enough that they think they can dictate what the consumer can and cant have. Because they lie about their products. And the number one reason I hate them. Because they wanted to charge me 20bucks to turn on bluetooth via software. F-u it had the hardware in it when I bought it. Why didnt the hardware JUST WORK.
  • 4 Hide
    tokenz , July 22, 2010 1:59 PM
    oblivionlordThe problem is that the majority of people with cellphones don't use skype therefore if you want to talk to them even with this app, then you have to have Skype credits which still costs money. Therefore it's only free if its a Skype to Skype call. Big Deal


    Yep but iphone users will spend $100 on skype credits (when their voice plan was $40) just because its so cool and its on the iphone.
  • 3 Hide
    insider3 , July 22, 2010 2:09 PM
    Once everyone downgrades their Voice Plans, Data plans will sky rocket.
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