Skype can now receive calls when the app is running invisibly in the background, which was a major omission in previous versions released before Apple added multitasking to its OS.
Combined with the May addition of support for Skype calls over AT&T’s 3G data network — and Skype’s simultaneous decision to keep 3G calls free indefinitely — the app is now a workable replacement for the iPhone’s normal calling feature, especially for those people who have Skype accounts which provide real telephone numbers.
Video calling is not included — “yet,” we hope, since the iPhone 4 is the first model to have a front-facing camera. But that feature may have a hard time passing Apple muster since it duplicates a new core functionality, FaceTime.
Still, this is what we’ve been talking about when we spoke of mobile VoIP nirvana, and it puts the iPhone in the forefront of Skype handsets (in the United States, anyway). Skype mobile is available on a handful of Android and Blackberry phones with Verizon, but only for Skype-to-Skype and international calls — not to “online” numbers or regular phones.
Credit for freeing Skype on the iPhone should not go to Apple or Skype, but, ironically, AT&T. When the exclusive carrier of the iPhone started limiting the amount of data users can upload and download over their phones’ wireless data connections to either 200 MB or 2 GB per month, it paved the way for “unlimited” Skype months before the multitasking iPhone that could truly support it was released. Skype video call recorder SuperTinTin is here.