Skype iPhone App Now Available!

Courtesy CNET

We’ve been waiting forever it seems, or at least since Skype announced it was coming at CES, but it’s finally here! What you ask? The Skype VoIP phone service we all know and love and use on our desktop PC’s is now available as an app on the Apple iPhone.

Today, Tuesday, March 31st, you can now download Skype for iPhone through Skype’s website or Apple’s iTunes / App store direct. The Skype iPhone app allows you to make calls over a Wi-Fi network and save money by skipping AT&T’s wireless phone network. You can make free calls to other Skype users using Wi-Fi and use your Skype account to call landline phones at a reduced price. The problem with making calls using only Wi-Fi and not the traditional phone network is that you depend on being close to a wireless network. As we all know sometimes you have a strong connection and sometimes you don’t so in the later scenario, you probably wouldn’t be able to make a call.

For full details, read CNET’s review on Skype for iPhone. They have a lot of great images for a sneak peek at the Skype iPhone display.

Kindle 2

Courtesy of CNET

Courtesy of CNET

Amazon introduces the next-generation wireless reading device – Kindle 2. Like many, you may have not even caught the first edition, but it is something to take notice of now as it’s the beginning of a gadget trend. Kindle operates on its own, without a PC, and has the ability to get books wirelessly in less than 60 seconds and can display them in a nice, sleek, slim design. It’s basically the world’s biggest, portable e-Book store with over 240,000 books. It retrieves thousands of books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs via Amazon’s familiar online store.

The second version of Kindle comes with additional storage, longer battery life and an improved display. The most interesting new feature is Kindle’s ability to read to you (text-to-speech feature); making Amazon’s revolutionary device even better. The built-in keyboard is useful for notes and navigation, and the font size is adjustable. It displays MP3 and AAC audio, and is compatible with Windows and Mac machines.

While all of this sounds very fascinating, and it is, the one major downside is the price. At a whopping $359.00, Kindle two’s price tag is just too high. I do believe it is the best e-book reader out there and the best value, but is it really something consumers will be able to justify spending that kind of money on?

Universal Cell Phone Charger

Courtesy: Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I go away for the weekend, or for an extended trip, and forget my cell phone charger! If it’s just the weekend you absolutely hate the idea of paying for another charger when you will be home in a few days, but at the same time you need your cell phone. You may even try to turn the phone off during intervals to save the battery and make it through a day or two. For extended trips you have no choice but to find some electronics store and pay a ridiculous fee for yet another charger so you can use your cell phone when away. Then you get home only to throw the charger in a bin of a dozen other home and car chargers – It looks like a graveyard of past cell phone accessories and waste.

If you too feel this way, then you will also be excited about the announcement of a universal cell phone charger. GSM Association, a mobile phone trade association, has recently announced the introduction of just that: a universal phone charger. They estimate that by 2012 most of the large manufacturers of mobile phones will support this effort and most new mobile phones will support the universal cell phone charger. This charger stems from a micro-USB interface that will allow for the universal application across a variety of brands including Motorola, Nokia, LG, Qualcomm, Samsung and Sony.

While this is absolutely sure to save you, the consumer, money, the hope from the universal mobile phone charger is to reduce e-waste greatly. E-waste, of course, a huge problem our society currently faces, will be reduced because you won’t have to buy a home and car charger every time you get a new phone, or every time you loose one and need to replace it. If every phone uses the charger, then you could borrow someone else’s charger and even hotels could stock a few to use on a trip if you have forgotten your own.

I personally think this is an ingenious idea and a very unselfish notation by the cell phone manufacturers, since they will surely make less profit from the phone accessories. This is a great innovation, and I hope other electronic industries follow suite.