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Skype, the Internet telephony outfit, is going mobile by offering punters the chance to make calls using handheld computers.

The company has launched the beta version of PocketSkype, a stripped-down version of its VoIP software that lets punters make Skype voice calls using WiFi-enabled handheld gizmos running Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003.

Developed specifically for PDAs, Skype reckons this will "massively expand the universe of people who can now make free, unlimited and unmetered calls to their friends, family and colleagues around the world".

Said Skype CEO and co-founder Niklas Zennström: "Expanding Skype to new platforms and giving our users more choice and flexibility is our priority.

"Making Skype available to the PDA market is an important step for Skype to deliver the 'always on' promise allowing our users to make Skype calls on the road away from the home and office," he said.

Since its launch in August 2003, Skype software has been downloaded more than 9.5 million times.

Skype Technologies is a privately-held outfit backed by venture capital firms including Bessemer Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Index Ventures. Its HQ is in Luxembourg and it has offices in Copenhagen, London, Stockholm, and Tallinn,®

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