Skype has released the latest version of its application for the iPhone, adding new features and fixing a couple of annoying bugs that hung up calls.
Earlier versions of Skype would hang up a VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) call made over Wi-Fi when a user received a SMS (Short Message Service) or the low-battery notification.
A new feature in the 1.3 version allows the iPhone to be held in landscape mode and used for instant messages.
Skype has also added a call-quality indicator. The feature checks available bandwidth during a call. When a user presses a green button, a pop-up window will show a message such as "No bandwidth problems. Skype call quality should be excellent." The feature is already in the 4.2 desktop version of the application for the Windows OS.
In other Skype news, the company says it has a 3G version of its VOIP application for the iPhone ready to go if the Apple allows it to go into their App store.
Since Skype released its iPhone application in March 2009, calls can only be made using a Wi-Fi connection even though 3G data connections, which run over the cellular network, are sufficient for VOIP calls.
Carriers have been concerned that Skype on the iPhone could take away from call revenue and negatively impact the integrity of their networks, but they appear to be changing their minds. In the US, AT&T told Apple in October that it could enable 3rd-party VOIP applications for the iPhone. Many carriers already allow VOIP applications such as Skype over 3G on operating systems such as Windows Mobile.
Skype is keen to release its 3G application as soon as possible but needs Apple's OK to put it in the App Store, said Peter Parkes, a Skype spokesman.
"Apple doesn't make any guarantees about when apps will become available for download, but we'll submit a 3G-enabled version to the App Store as soon as we hear of any changes," Parkes said.