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iSkoot for Symbian test run April 9, 2008

Posted by techscope in communication.
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iSkoot is a nifty piece of software capable of vicariously running Skype services on any symbian phone. It is still in its beta stage and free so far.

Whereas other solutions require at least a 3G or, even better, a Wi-Fi enabled device, my cellphone which supports neither is not at a loss with iSkoot. The trick is, it uses plain EDGE/GRRS for text-chatting to your Skype contacts, and when it comes to making a voice call, the software uses the Public Switched Telephone Network, resulting in placing a usual “local” telephone call via your cellular operator.

It is hard to imagine many uses for this extravagant technology, but under certain circumstances it might be viable enough to justify its existence.

But does iSkoot really work?

That’s exactly what I set out to find out this weekend.

1) I downloaded and installed the N73 version for my E50 (the phones use the same operation system) from http://www.iskoot.com/register.php

2) On running the software with an existing Skype account, it logged in just fine and all my contacts where displayed.

3) A gave an Echo test service a call. And got the following results:

– My balance before the call was R136,24 (approx. $17,03).

– it took 54 seconds to make a call (at first I noticed a local South African – appropriate for my location – number is dialed) whereupon I said some meaningless nonsense to a machine for 15 secs. The other 15 secs went for getting my own words back. So, I guess the actual “conversation” took about 35 seconds for real.

– The sound quality, I would say, is anything between 6/10 or 7/10, not too bad.

– My balance after the call was 135.20 (off-peak rate), so it cost me R1.04 ($0,13) in total for the 35 seconds of pleasure.

Bottom line:

Nothing can be better than enjoying a Skype call from the comfort of your home on your PC, but if you’re out in the field with no broadband connectivity, and for some reason it could cost you less to make such a vicarious call, iSkoot might be an option, especially if you call an international contact.

In South Africa where I live the broadband penetration still leaves much to be desired, especially in rural communities, so why not get some Chief skyping out directly from his cellphone? 😉