I HAVE A SKYPE phone from Ireland's 3 Network in my pocket and appreciate its single-button Skype access. I can walk the dog outside my home and talk for free using Skype. However, that feature alone would not be enough to cause me to change my current usage of mobile phones. I have grown accustomed to the Nokia and SonyEricsson menus after five years of using those phones as part of my daily routine. I need a strong suite of business applications on my phones because I need to read documents created in Microsoft Office and distributed as Acrobat files. I need an on-board recording device on my phones. That's me and I know I'm not a typical mobile office warrior since few people carry two phones around with them every hour. The 3 Skype phone is a third phone in my daily kit bag and I have some first impressions to report.
1. If you want Skype voice connectivity, I think you should initiate the connection with Skype chat. That's how all of my Skype calls went during my first 24 hours of using the phone. I couldn't reach several people by calling them with Skype when my phone showed me two bars of signal strength. But after I sent them text over Skype, I could easily ring them.
2. The 3 Skype phone is relatively easy to use. I haven't opened its owner's manual yet. It feels like an inexpensive Nokia handset.
3. The big Skype button on the middle of the handset makes Skype easy to use. Unlike other handsets where you can make Skype an application buried deep in the phone's menu system, the 3 Skype phone brings Skype front and centre.
4. Over-the-counter assistance from Clonmel's 3G shop can help newbies adjust to Skype calling. Several counter personnel there know how Skype works and understood some very complex questions I asked them about the service. I was surprised to hear that you could not get a 3 Skype phone on monthly contract terms. At least in the case of the 3G shop, you need to buy the €99 phone and pre-paid credit from 3 if you want to walk away with a 3 Skype phone in your pocket.
Call me on Skype if you wish. I'm garringreen.
Damien Mulley -- "Testing out the 3 Skypephone"