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The VoIP original

Skype for iPhone now lets you place VoIP calls over Wi-Fi and 3G, but we've learned that 3G calling won't be free.

Skype's official iPhone app is one way to climb aboard the VoIP calling (and IM) train Skype from the iPhone. Skype for iPhone has always let you place free 3G calls to other Skype users, and low-price calls to cell phones and landlines around the world. Version 2.0 at long last introduces support for making calls over the 3G data network. Call quality will depend on your data or Wi-Fi connection, though we found that Skype's audio can be clearer than with conventional calls, especially internationally. Since that isn't always the case, an improved quality meter will flash a message on the screen when your coverage fluctuates. However, if you hold the phone to your ear or let the screen dim, you may miss these visual alerts.

There's just one catch: Skype's 3G calling is only on a trial basis for now. In early 2011, the VoIP company will levy a "small monthly fee," the amount of which remains undecided for now, according to online reports. Skype has not yet released information explaining how it'll charge for the service, but we're guessing subscribers will sign up through in-app purchasing.

As for the rest, Skype for iPhone presents an interface that's arguably more intuitive than the Mac and PC Skype clients, but it's also lighter on features. Here's what you can do: quickly see the status of your contacts, start IM conversations (over Wi-Fi or 3G), add pictures from your phone to contacts (which almost instantly syncs to your computer client, as well), and access your profile and voice mail. Though Skype does voice calls well, it's also behind some competitors, especially when it comes to adding video-calling features to its voice repertoire.

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