Feeds

Nokia to preinstall Skype on handsets

Operators not sufficiently pissed off yet

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Updated Nokia is pre-installing a Skype client on the flagship N97 handset, being launched in June, allowing users to make VoIP calls without paying a penny to the network operator who is still expected to subsidise the cost of the phone.

It seems like only yesterday Nokia was removing SIP functionality from operator-variant handsets in order to appease the operators and gain that so-valuable subsidy. But now N-Series devices will have a proper Skype client integrated, including presence and messaging as well as VoIP, in a move that isn't going to please network operators at all.

UK operator 3 has had some success with its Skype-Phone, but that isn't really VoIP at all, neither can it make SkypeOut calls - so the user is still dependent on 3 for most of their calls.

Until now there hasn't been a proper mobile-Skype client, except on Windows Mobile. Third-party applications such as Fring have provided the functionality on S60, but starting with the N97 Skype will be an integral part of the phone's capabilities, offering Skype calls in the same way that the current N-Series phones offer SIP connections - or most of them do. But Skype/Nokia goes further as the address book becomes dynamic and displays the presence information about contacts, assuming they have Skype too.

Presence-enabling the address book is a welcome innovation, but integrating with Skype isn't going to amuse the network operators. Not only will users be able to call other Skype users for free over 3G or Wi-Fi connections, but they'll also be able to make SkypeOut calls: potentially reducing the network operator to the bit-pipe they've fought so hard to avoid becoming.

Quite what Nokia gets out of the deal, other than pissing off its biggest customers, isn't clear - unless the company is actively seeking a subsidy-free business model.

It's still possible that operators will manage to convince Nokia to switch off the functionality for variant handsets, as Vodafone did when SIP became available. But the attendant publicity, connected to the Skype brand, will make that hard - assuming Skype can start making enough money to fund its continued existence. ®

Update: Some of our more astute readers have pointed out that you can, since October, make SkypeOut calls on 3 - as covered by us at the time.

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.