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Monday, March 30, 2009, 06:25 am PT (09:25 am ET)

Skype for iPhone to hit the App Store on Tuesday [Released]

Skype, the Internet phone division of e-commerce giant eBay, has confirmed plans to introduce a version of its Internet telephony software for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch users on Tuesday.

The free application, which will be available for download from the App Store, will let users place phones calls to other Skype users on computers or supported mobile phones at no charge. An option to place calls to traditional telephone landlines will also be available for about 2.1 cents per minute, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A clause in Apple's terms of service for software distributed through the App Store prohibits VoIP-based applications like Skype from transmitting data over 3G networks belonging to carriers, meaning the software will only operate when users are connected to a WiFi hotspot.

Both the original iPhone and iPhone 3G will be supported out of the box, as will the second-generation iPod touch which launched last September. The original iPod touch will need access to a third-party microphone accessory for full functionality since it does not include a built-in microphone.

On the iPhone, the Skype application will provide direct access to a user's existing Address Book, meaning users won't have to duplicate their contact lists, according to the Associated Press.

Speaking before the CTIA annual mobile conference in Las Vegas this week, Skype chief operating Oofficer Scott Durchslag said his firm is answering the pleas of customers who've resounded in their calls for Skype to make its way to the Apple handset.

"The No. 1 request we get from customers is to make Skype available on iPhone," he said. "There's a pent-up demand." Durchslag added that a version of Skype for the iPhone with video features is also under consideration, though concerns over user interaction with other applications on the handset remain.

"We're considering video carefully but we have a really high bar on the quality," he said. "If we do it we will have to do it incredibly well."

Skype for iPhone


Meanwhile, CNet News.com sat down with Skype's principal iPhone engineer ahead of CTIA this week for a first-hand preview of the application, which reportedly "looks more like your traditional iPhone app than it does Skype 4.0 for Windows."

In general, the publication found the software to be well organized, with additional support for text chat features, joining conference calls, and taking photo snapshots that can be used to create avatar images.

Some of the features that didn't make the inagural version of the software reportedly include SMS, setting up a conference calling group, purchasing SkypeOut credit directly, and file transfers.

Update: The Skype application is now available for download from the App Store.