Internet VoIP service Skype is expected to soon make its first true appearance on the now-iconic Apple iPhone, plans that could be unveiled next week at the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas.
Tech blogger Om Malik of GigaOM said on Friday that Skype, which is owned by eBay, is planning to launch an iPhone application in the AppStore.
"A few months ago, I asked Skype CEO Josh Silverman when was he going to launch the iPhone version of the P2P voice and IM service that has now been downloaded more than 405 million times," Malik wrote. "He smiled and said, 'Stay tuned.'"
Malik wrote that a reliable tipster gave him the lowdown on Skype coming to the iPhone, despite Skype keeping mum. While Skype has not confirmed its iPhone plans, the company is holding a press conference on Tuesday just before CTIA kicks off in Vegas.
Skype hinted earlier this year that it was building an iPhone application, which would let iPhone users make VoIP calls to other Skype users from their smartphones.
Skype has been eyeing mobility as its next great venture, after its massive success on laptops and desktops to offer free and low-cost calling options via the Internet. Mobile Skype uses the Internet to carry voice traffic from a mobile phone.
In the mobile arena, Skype has already released a software version for Microsoft Windows Mobile devices, and last month Nokia said it plans to add Skype service to some of its phones, starting with the Nokia N97 smartphone.
Skype has also worked with a company called iSkoot that developed a Skype phone sold in the U.K. and a client that allowed cell phone users to use Skype services. According to Malik, the biggest clue about Skype's pending iPhone launch came when iSkoot moved away from its Skype-centric strategy.
And while this could mark the first official Skype application for the iPhone, there are already third-party applications that give iPhone users access to Skype. Take Fring, for example. Fring makes a mobile VoIP client that can integrate several VoIP networks, like Skype, to let users talk, chat and interact with other Fring users. Like Fring, it is expected that a Skype application for the iPhone will only be usable on a Wi-Fi network.