Skype & The Future of Mobile Phones and IP Telephony
IP-based (Internet Protocol) telephony is certain to overtake switched-circuit telephony. Skype leads in the number of Voice over IP (VoIP) users and certainly has a global reach. Mobile telephone handsets will eventually communicate via IP. Now, there are some handsets, notably from Nokia, that is WiFi and coming as WiMax, and which also have switched circuit capability. In addition, Nokia's 770, a Linux OS tablet for about US$350 and WiFi, shows the possibility of these devices becoming phones.
In fact, the 770 looks a little like the 7100, which has no WiFi capability. T-Mobile and others, such as around Cleveland OH (thanks to my CASE alumni news) are building hotspots and ubiquitous WiFi coverage that portends a future of wireless IP communications that will include voice. So, yes I need a new handset. My Samsung, Palm OS phone no longer accepts input via the stylus. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait for the handset of my dreams.
The best for the moment might be a handheld mobile-phone-PDA with WiFi and switched circuit calling that runs the Skype application on Microsoft's Pocket PC (PPC) Operating System (OS). There are some photos on the Web of the Skype founder/CEO using such a device. HTC (Taiwan) makes some nice devices, but US wireless carriers, such as Sprint don't offer the WiFi version (guess why?), because you can bypass the carrier via the local wireless connection, in this case, WiFi.
Verizon Wireless was also taken to task on this issue, disabling the BlueTooth in a handset it carries, so that subscribers have to send photos over the carriers network rather than locally to the user's PC with BlueTooth. Is it just me, or do suppliers try to impress you with features you don't really use, such as still or video cameras, mp3 players, etc? My iPod Photo is just fine for music, as are my respective cameras for video and still photography.
OK, after a little online searching the QDA700 from qoollabs.com is the closest to what I have and looks nice, just that I can't buy it yet. Also, I discovered that Sprint's replacement the Samsung i550 was canceled and that Samsung's i539 Smartphone will get launched in China. Well, the Siemens SX66 looks pretty sweet, but I'm gonna look again later.