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Mobile Skype Beta app debuts on 50 handsets

Ebay-owned VoIP outfit Skype, has announced a beta version of Skype for an initial batch of 50 mobile phones that can run Java Platform, a few days after it announced new landline fixed rate plans.

Skype mobile will include features such as Skype to Skype, SkypeIn, Skype out as well as Group chat and presence and will debut on a range of phones from the top vendors.

Only eight markets have been selected for now to test Skype-to-Skype and SkypeOut.

Surprisingly, most mature markets like Australia, France, Germany and US are excluded; Good news though is that UK uses can have access to it.

The beta period will allow Skype to fine tune and tweak the service before rolling Skype mobile worldwide.

Skype already has a client for PocketPC which works only with WiFi hotspots and last year, it launched a Skypephone with Three Network which used the latter's 3G connection to make calls.

"These are still the early days for making Skype calls on mobile phones, but we've already made great strides in this space," said Gareth O'Loughlin, general manager, mobile and hardware devices at Skype.

Skype Mobile could be the killer app for the VoIP company to reach the billions which have yet to experience Voice over IP away from desktop computers.

You can test the download here (opens in new tab).

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.