Despite a transitional period in its ownership, Skype continues to develop its VoIP calling service, and the company released a new beta version of its software for Windows desktops and Symbian S60 handsets.
Skype 4.2 for Windows beta includes the usual features one expects from Skype including free Skype-to-Skype calls, instant messaging, file-sending capabilities, and the ability to call non-Skype phones at a discounted rate. The latest version also brings back Skype Access, which aims at removing the hassle of finding and signing up for Wi-Fi hotspots.
The popular VoIP service has a large installed base on desktop PCs, but it's increasingly looking at the mobile space for growth. In order to capitalize on this space, the company also introduced a beta for 17 Nokia handsets running the Symbian S60 mobile operating system. The program enables mobile users to make free Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G or Wi-Fi on devices like the Nokia E71, N95, and other handsets. Mobile users will also be able to call normal phone lines with the service, as well as send and receive files, and utilize Skype's instant messaging service.
Skype is developing a cozy relationship with the world's largest handset maker, as the VoIP service will be preloaded on certain Nokia N Series handsets. The deal may make some mobile operators uneasy because Skype has the potential to cut voice and long-distance calling revenue, but Skype counters it adds to carriers' bottom lines because it means customers will be using mobile data services. Skype is also finding its way onto every major mobile platform, as there is already an app for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Java, and Android.
The latest versions of Skype for Windows and Symbian S60 can be downloaded from Skype's Web site.