In an apparent acknowledgement that 3G data plans are its future, as voice calling continues to become a commodity, Verizon Wireless took the wraps of its plan to offer Skype Internet calling on its smartphones starting next month.
Skype first unveiled its VoIP application for BlackBerries and iPhones at last spring's CTIA Wireless trade show, and its deal with Verizon marks a major warming to the concept from wireless carriers. Skype first touched off a furor in Europe when Nokia began preloading Skype on its N97 smartphone last year.
At this week's at Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer demonstrated the long-awaited next generation of Windows smartphone software, elegantly dubbed Windows Phone Series. Yet the mid-February announcement only promises new devices "by holiday 2010" to compete with Blackberries, iPhones and new Android-based phones. And by "holiday" they likely mean Christmas/Chanukkah/Kwanzaa, not Labor Day, Columbus Day or Halloween.
Microsoft is certainly feeling collaborative these days, isn't it? Redmond wants to create a real search rival for Google, so it teams up with Yahoo. It wants to be a bigger player in enterprise mobile, so it partners with Nokia.
The latter alliance, which was leaked extensively Tuesday but officially announced Wednesday, strikes some as an odd pairing, given that Microsoft has its own mobile OS and Nokia uses the open-source Symbian system. The two companies haven't exactly been close, despite a previous deal that provides Nokia phones with Microsoft Exchange Server functionality.