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Skype + iMate + HGC

Skype recently announced a deal with HGC in Hong Kong while news is now breaking of another deal in Korea with iMate. iMate is the largest distributor for Windows Smart Phones. Both these announcements are interesting. They also suggest a "quickening" for the pace of change. So far the HGC release looks similar to the old formula applied elsewhere. (Scary after deals in Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea, we can call this version common place.) with one difference. HGC is a landline operator. In the case of iMate it is a technology story. Now we have a Smart Phone distributor promising Skype mobility with your mobile. Skype's PDA version is already running on some iMate products.

I keep thinking about the impact on "you and me" when I see these deals. Tonight I'm wondering when I can buy the "mobile" that provides me "Skype" and drop in my GSM Sim card. Under $500. Then all I care about is whether SBC or T-Mobile is going to enable SkypeIn for me. My preference is for my mobile number. So:

How long until Skype is infecting the common mobile phone? While we have had a Window PDA version (just announced as 1.0) this suggests that the capability to put Skype into Smartphones effectively must be close to a beta test release. (I only know of rumors re Symbian). Last week I suggested the potential for a stripped down SkypeMobile version and impact it could have on SMS revenue. This SmartPhone play suggests things are moving along faster. Still even a Skype with limited voice messaging on a GSM / GPRS phone could make an attractive proposition.

Will the iMate deal bring new integration between the mobile Skype client and the desktop? For those that may have forgotten, You can log on multiple times same profile on concurrent PC's with Skype. They all ring on the inbound call. So what are the implications for inbound mobile calls after this Skype client is installed? Could any inbound mobile call number be forwarded via Skype text to my Skype Desktop? What happens when the inbound mobile caller is also a Skype buddy? How will adding "Mobile" to presence status messages affect contacts and call behavior? Will this also increase the potential use of SkypeVM? As noted before, why text a buddy who is likely to be driving. Can that PDA / mobile on Wi-Fi also be the phone around home?

Will HGC be the first to announce a SkypeIn deal? That would mean that everyone in HongKong could simple take their home number with them, anywhere they were on Skype. Seems silly right? Why would a landline operator want to provide the number? Looking at the iMate deal perhaps it makes sense. SkypeiMateMobile (call it what you want) could then receive an inbound PSTN call to Skype using an HGC inbound number. In the iMate case that could enable a second line or extension on your cellphone. What's more the second line also starts to become associated with all the neat presence info. In this twist of fate consumers might look for "fast data" connections only from their mobile operators.

See also:
Mark Evans
Jeremy Wagstaff
Andy Abramson


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» Skype, now takes on wireless from Om Malik on Broadband
Skype is leaping up in the hype sweepstakes. Everywhere I go, I hear about this company. Folks who till recently ignored the software and the service have been waxing eloquent about it. No surprise that Skype is making a quick appearance in the blogsph... [Read More]

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It's not quite all it seems. BluePrint report from 3GSM in Cannes on this:-


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