Accessing Skype on a Mobile Handset
Right now there are three ways to access some portion of Skype over your mobile handset: iSkoot, EQO, and Soonr. At least with the phones I want to use, all Nokia Series 60 3rd Edition (i.e. Nokia E Series), and the desktop I use, a MacBook, they suck to varying degrees.
I’ve talked about EQO before. Basically a client component runs on your Skype PC or Mac and a client runs on your phone. The client is fairly innocuous, it basically has little user interface of it’s own, instead hooking into Skype via the API and relaying stuff between the mobile phone and Skype. The EQO client on the phone works–if you have a supported handset. I do have a supported handset, after all I lent them a Nokia 9300 so they could make the client work there. However, it’s not a phone I currently use. On the phones it’s not supported on, well, it might work. Or it might not. The screen will look bizarrely misshapen. It’s not usable on the phones I carry right now, so that’s out.
Soonr is something I’ve also talked about before. Like EQO, it requires an agent to run on a Skype-enabled PC or Mac. But unlike EQO, Soonr also gives you remote access to your desktop. You can browse specific files and folders from your mobile phone as well as download content. What’s even better is that the client for this on a mobile phone is simply the phone’s web browser. That’s a bonus, though it makes instant messaging via Skype a little bit of a different experience since you must manually reload the page to see if your buddy sent you anything. I’m also annoyed at the Soonr folks because they have two annoying bugs: the Mac client randomly “disconnects” from the network and won’t automatically reconnect. Also, they have this annoying display bug with contacts that use angle brackets (e.g. a contact named )–a bug that I reported over a month ago.
Recently a new version of iSkoot came out. While iSkoot is like EQO in that it requires some client software be loaded on the phone (and it has limited support for phones, but the J2ME client worked okay on my Nokia E70), that’s it. No client to load on your PC or Mac. It “sort of” runs Skype on your phone directly. However, it only supports the ability to call your Skype contacts. You can see what buddies are online or off, though my experience is that I see different results on Skype on my Mac and on the iSkoot client. When you click on a buddy, your mobile phone is “bridged” to the buddy via a SkypeOut call. You can also make SkypeOut calls from your phone as well, but that results in two SkypeOut calls: one to you and one to your callee. However, this client does not offer any IM–calling only.
Oh well, I guess I’ve got a while to wait before I have a mobile IM solution I can use on my Nokia E70.