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Skype VoIP app expanding to BlackBerry

Skype has decided that its VoIP app is ripe for BlackBerry phones, after having picked the low-hanging fruit of a native iPhone application.


Hot on the heels of releasing Skype for iPhone, the VoIP communications company has come to the table with news of a free, "lite" version of Skype for BlackBerry. Already downloadable for Android, Java, Symbian, and Windows Mobile, BlackBerry has remained Skype's missing link.

Just don't expect to share photos of your cat quite yet. While Skype's core capabilities will debut in Skype Lite for BlackBerry, not everything Skype can do will be available right out of the gate. You'll be able to call other Skype users for free, and can initiate calls to landlines and mobile phones using Skype Out credit. You'll also be able to receive inbound calls to your online Skype number. Instant messenger and SMS features will also stay intact, but features like voicemail and file transferring, which are also available on other platforms, will be delayed on BlackBerry for the time being. Also, unlike the iPhone version just released, you won't need Wi-Fi to connect to Skype. Skype Lite will work over your BlackBerry's data plan, so long as you have a calling plan.

Skype's announcement is just part of the company's three-pronged mobile strategy, Skype's chief operating officer, Scott Durchslag, said in a press conference on Tuesday at CTIA. Skype's first goal is to create a native application for all major smartphone operating systems. After BlackBerry, Palm's unreleased Web OS platform would be the last major hurdle. After conquering native applications, Skype will work to get its VoIP client preloaded on mobile phones and other Internet devices. To this end, Skype has already cut a deal with Nokia to be featured on the Nokia N97 when it ships. Lastly, Skype will court carriers to integrate Skype-to-Skype calling for phones that don't have Wi-Fi.

Skype plans to release a beta version of Skype for BlackBerry in May, starting with BlackBerry Bold any Curve phones, and gradually adding support for more BlackBerry smartphones. Skype Lite for BlackBerry will be available in ten countries to start with, including the U.S. and U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil, and parts of northern and eastern Europe.

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Skype gets SMS, file transfer for Windows Mobile