Free phone calls from your PDA?
July 14, 2005
| || |I live in Manhattan where, at least in my neighborhood,
there are open broadband hot spots all around. If I get an Axim
or Tungsten C
handheld, will I be able to download Skype
into it and have nearly free wireless phone service as long as I'm in range of a hot spot?
| |Skype is a free download and will work on any handheld running Microsoft's Pocket PC OS.
So it will work with Dell's Axim, but not with the Palm-based Tungsten C. (Rumors have been circulating on the Web for a while about Skype coming to the Palm OS, but so far, they're just that--rumors.)
Calls to other Skype users are free; what you'll have to pay for is a headset that works with your Axim and any charges that you may incur at a particular hot spot. And if you want to call people who aren't on Skype, you'll have to sign up for a SkypeOut account. With it, you can make calls to almost any phone number in the world for low, per-minute rates. You have to prepay for calls by adding money to an account, and your remaining amount is displayed on a tab in the Skype window. I'd suggest starting with the minimum amount of 10 euros (about $13). We tested the SkypeOut service on a desktop and a laptop and experienced widely inconsistent voice quality. We had better luck with free Skype-user-to-Skype-user calls.
heads up CNET's coverage of desktop PCs, bringing readers timely reviews of systems, from budget boxes to tricked-out gaming PCs. He also lends his expertise to CNET's coverage of Internet phones that use Voice-over-IP technology.