Saturday, April 4, 2009

Skype for iPod Touch - Is It Worth It?

Well, I say yes.

It started out with me buying a Skype subscription for unlimited calling in US and Canada.  This was shortly after I got my second generation iPod touch for my birthday, and was working on on turning in into an iPhone.  I had to buy headphones from the Apple store, and so I bought these. I used Fring at that point, and to my amazement, it worked!  I could make calls via my Skype account to the world.  However, there was quite a bit of lag, and that made it less than ideal.  So for a while I gave up.

But now, with the official Skype app out in the App store, I have returned to this idea.  So far, from what I have seen, it works well, but not as well as it could.  The Skype app does allow you to use subscriptions with it, not just Skype Credit.  This is a huge boon, because with a subscription comes voicemail and a cheaper online number.  The online nunber, once set up (which I have), means people can call you back, if you are in the Skype app.  However, you still cannot check your voicemail when you are in the Skype app.

I like the Skype app because it works with Backgrounder (thanks to an update to the Mobile Substrate), it has very little lag, and it has more in-call options.  The update by Saurik to Mobile Substrate is probably the most exciting thing for the Jailbroken community.  Because we can have Skype run in the background, that means we can recieve calls when not in the app itself.  This, combined with Keep Awake or Insomnia, means the iPod touch can almost be an iPhone.  I've had some trouble however, with the other person hearing me, but I can't hear them.  In Fring, I would just have to call them again and hope it worked - however, with the Skype application, 4 in call options come up, one of which is "Speaker."  I don't know why, but hitting that option generally gets ride of the wierd echo and allows me to hear them too.

Unfortunetly, you can't do some things which I would love to see.  You cannot check your voicemail yet, which would be the best new feature.  Having more integration with the contact list would be appreciated, but is not truly necessary.  Because Skype requires the +COUNTRYCODE, thing, it may be nice not to have integration so you wouldn't have to change all the numbers.

My last wish is for the Jailbroken community to start integrating this app with the iPhone OS.  It would be beautiful if it always ran in the background, and when you were connected to wifi, the wifi would never turn off so you could always recieve calls.  This integration would make it almost identical to official calling app in the iPhone.

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