New Skypephones coming

If you have a 3 Skypephone, or are thinking about getting one, you might be interested in this news – a new model of the mobile device, dubbed Skypephone S2, will be in 3’s UK stores on August 18.

I saw the new model (pictured; click the image for a larger version) on Monday at an event in London organized by 3mobilebuzz. They had invited a number of bloggers to see what new phones and other devices mobile operator 3 has up its sleeves for launching in the coming months.

The original Skypephone, launched last October, has proven to be a big success, 3 says, with over 100,000 sold in the UK.

I still have mine courtesy of 3 although I don’t use it much because the phone can’t reliably connect to 3’s 3G network where I am, although it does fine just about anywhere else. A 3G connection is needed for the phone to sync with Skype (only 2G needed to then use the phone with Skype).

Nevertheless, I think the Skypephone is a great product as I said in my first impressions review last November. It introduced the benefits of Skype to many people in a package that really is pretty affordable.

And to see what one keen Skypephone user thinks of the new model, read Chris Dawson’s post.

But a lot has changed in the marketplace since then. Plenty of new devices from many different handset makers are available with more coming. More deals from mobile operators. A higher bar with overall user experience set by the new 3G iPhone. And there are Predictions of a boom time just ahead for smart mobile devices that connect to the net.

So now we have Skypephone S2, a device firmly positioned in the consumer market (as opposed to business) from what I heard on Monday. How does it stack up?

I think the biggest appeal with this new model is HSDPA, sorely lacking in the first-generation model.

It means that you should experience faster data transfer rates and enjoy potentially more reliable internet connectivity.

Skypephone S2 offers plug-in external data storage with a slot for a Micro SD card of up to 4 gigs capacity. It has 50 megs of on-board memory (compared to just 16 megs on the older model phone).

The phone itself has other improvements notably in overall design. A bigger and higher-resolution screen. It comes with an upgraded 3.2 megapixel camera which, while a big improvement on the 2 megapixel one in the current Skypephone, is below entry level for cameraphones (and look at this indicator of where mobile cameras are going: a new Samsung phone with an 8 megapixel camera). Still, it’s better.

Would I get a Skypephone S2? No, especially not when I have a now-unlocked Nokia N95 8GB that can run Skype Mobile.

Yet I think Skypephone S2 will fly off the shelves from next month as the under £70 price point for pay as you go is again affordable compared to what you’d be paying for higher-spec phones like the Samsung I mentioned or the iPhone.

And not to mention other smartphones due out from 3’s stable including ones on show last Monday such as the Nokia N96, the Samsung Tocco, the Blackberry Bold or the Nokia E71.

And I haven’t mentioned HP laptops with in-built mobile broadband connectivity nor some cool Huawei devices I saw including one that lets you set up a local area network via mobile broadband. Some commentary about that on What Mobile Forum.

All of these products from 3 will no doubt attract a lot of attention once the launch ball gets rolling.

What interests me most, though, is what’s to come from 3 with Skypephone, as I heard on Monday that there are firm plans for a third-generation model that will be positioned as a business smartphone.

No details yet on what features that business-focused Skypephone may have which, 3 told me, is likely to appear before Christmas. Nor how 3 plans to position it in a very competitive market.

Finally, there’s a terrific post from Ewan MacLeod of SMS Text News who was there on Monday:

I appreciate it. I appreciate all the work that the marketing and public relations teams do for product launches and things like this.

[…] The event, you see, was for the proper people. The trade press. The real journalists.

And what a bunch of total arses they are. The trade press, I mean.

I couldn’t work in mobile public relations. Geez, no. I don’t think I could bear having to brief know-nothing tossers all day.

Those words set the tone: Ewan’s a blogger with passion.

And he can write a pretty good commentary.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Anthony Moylan

    I bought the Skype 2 phone for less than £60 and am very happy with it. I now have a 4gb memory card and have downloaded numerous .Jar Games, Apps, etc.
    I dont think that their is a phone on the market that can give better value for money.

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