Skype's latest beta: A worthy Windows Mobile update

Skype's latest beta version is for Windows Mobile Smartphones and Pocket PCs.

Skype for Windows Mobile 2.5 beta

Skype for Windows Mobile 2.5 beta, released on Tuesday, essentially brings changes made to Skype's desktop VoIP client (download|review) to Windows Smartphones and Windows Pocket PCs.

The application's display is compact, intuitive, and full-featured.

The mobile version places tabs for your various actions at the bottom of the app. By switching among them, you'll be able to change your online status and see missed calls and instant messages, initiate IMs, or place a call to your contact's Skype account, mobile number, or land line if you've purchased Skype Out. There's also a dialing pad to directly dial a call using an international format.

Like Skype's desktop beta, this Windows Mobile version highlights instant messages. It supports emoticons, but file transferring is what we'd really like to see, and what competitor Fring (downloads) already offers on Symbian phones.

The call quality is going to vary based on your phone model, your headphones, and how fast and stable your data connection is. Test calls were excellent on the Samsung Omnia. The app's biggest drawback--on the touch-screen Omnia at least--is that the tiny icons and links are difficult to accurately press.

As a whole, however, Skype's Windows Mobile beta is good enough to recommend to Windows Mobile users with overseas connections who may have been on the fence about opening a Skype account.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.