I recently wrote Skype on the iPhone was not possible
. Well, there is a workaround that will enable you to use Skype on the Apple iPhone. Technically, the Skype client still is NOT running on the iPhone, but instead uses a workaround to enable many of the Skype features on the iPhone. [update: I found another awesome Skype solution besides SoonR, so keep reading!]
4/1/09 - Skype officially launched their own native app, but I'm keeping all the available "Skype options" in this article.Also, check out this VERY HOT related story which enables Skype over 3GSkype over 3G on iPhone
Essentially, the workaround is to install SoonR Talk
, a AJAX-enabled application. SoonR's AJAX-enabled interface is available now for any mobile phone that can run the Opera Mobile browser version 8.6 and above, as well as Safari, which includes the Apple iPhone. I should mention that unlike WAP-based Skype solutions which require a manual click to refresh your page in order to receive new chat responses, SoonR Talk's AJAX interface will auto refresh when you have an incoming chat. It will also automatically update presence information for your buddies.
As for the voice (VoIP) functionality, the way it works is that the AJAX interface acts as a remote control for your computer where the SoonR service is installed along with Skype. There is nothing to install on your phone because SoonR Talk uses a browser that supports AJAX. You simply login into SoonR website. Your computer connected to the Internet runs a small secure client as a service. This client uses 128 Bit SSL to communicate with the SoonR service. An account with the SoonR server is established, and a mobile phone with data capability is used for submitting requests.
According to SoonR, "SoonR will utilize its transcoding engine and your client PC's processing power to create a unique view that fits your handset. When you log in, SoonR can detect the browser and class of handset that you are using. SoonR can make an intelligent decision based on your browser and handset combination and optimize for your device. When your handset is not available or you are not in a service zone, SoonR can be accessed via a Web browser or through Instant Messaging."
Once you are logged in and connected, you can view your Skype buddies using the AJAX client and then click on the buddy you want to talk to. SoonR Talk will tell your PC to call your mobile phone using SkypeOut. Then SoonR Talk will instruct Skype to call your buddy over the Skype IP network, placing you in a conference. If your buddy is not online, you can still call their mobile phone or landline.
Unfortunately, this isn't a 100% Skype-to-Skype call, since one leg of the call is using the PSTN to call your mobile, i.e. iPhone. Thus, you will be using some of your SkypeOut credits to call one of your Skype buddies. Skype should do what many carriers offer, namely free minutes to 5 family/friends. Really you'd only need 1 number for free minutes - your iPhone. I'm not sure if SoonR lets you dial PSTN numbers. It doesn't appear to offer that feature - only Skype buddy calling. If SoonR were to offer that, then you'd be able you use your iPhone to bypass AT&T's voice network (except for the incoming call from SoonR), and then use Skype's inexpensive calling rates instead.
So there you have it. Skype on the Apple iPhone. Enjoy!
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Here's another Skype on iPhone (& iPod touch) solution. Go check out the fring VoIP app
for the iPhone and iPod touch which supports Skype, SIP, Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, AOL, and more. Here's a link to it in the Apple app store:
And another: Nimbuzz works on the iPhone
. Yet another app is truphone for the iPhone
, but I believe it only supports IM'ing your Skype friends and not VoIP. Update:
Per a comment posting below from SoonR, it appears that SoonR Talk DOES support outbound PSTN dialing and not just Skype buddy dialing. Sweet!
The caveat is that it uses two SkypeOut calls and conferences the two. So you'll use double the SkypeOut credits, but as another commenter pointed out, you can sign-up for Skype's Unlimited Canada/US plan for only $30/year. Update: I meant to update this post last week to add another solution 8/20/2007
Shape Services lets you run Skype on the iPhone with their IM+ for Skype application. IM+ for Skype, also works on the iPod touch. The beauty of IM+ for Skype is that it doesn't even require Skype to be running on your PC - it leverages the Skype API and servers run by the IM+ for Skype folks (Shape Services). You can find out more info in my Skype on the Apple iPod touch
Related article dated 3/31/09:Skype for iPhone Blocked in Canada More cool iPhone stuff worth a look...