Skype and the Samsung Fascinate
Samsung Fascinate Cellphone

Skype is a free application that lets you talk to any other Skype user in the world for free. For example I have Skype installed on my PC and laptop. Both systems have webcams. My boyfriend has Skype and my father has Skype. Every night I can talk with my father for free, no matter where I am or where he is, as long as we have our computers with us. If I'm traveling I can talk to my boyfriend for free from wherever I am as long as my laptop can get a WiFi signal. There are no phone charges at all.

This makes Skype a VERY interesting application for a cell phone. You're already paying data plan minutes on your cell phone - and with Skype you can make as many phone calls you want without paying any of the "phone minutes" charges. If you use the Skype chat system you can send messages as much as you want without incurring any texting charges at all. Everything goes through the Skype data system, so it's all counted against your data plan.

As of this review - October 2010 - Skype does NOT have a video option for their Samsung application. Which is a shame - I really thought they'd have that by now. Still, you can do voice chat and text chat, which is good.

The Skype app loads in all your defined contacts so if you've been using Skype on your PC you don't have to reset everybody. When you text chat with someone you have a simple but useful interface, showing their messages and your messages, with the times by each one. It's easy to use and a great way to stay in touch. It is only set up up to talk with other Skype users, so you'd want whoever you were talking to to get Skype as well.

The voice chat is a little more confusing. Again, you want to make sure you are calling a *Skype* user, not another cell phone. If you start calling non-Skype users, you'll be charged for it (although the charge from Skype may be less than your cell phone company charge so it could be worth looking into!). When you connect to a Skype user from your Skype account, it will LOOK like it's making an actual phone call. If you watch who it is dialing, it's dialing a SKYPE phone number. I.e. it is making a connection for you by going through a Skype hub. Yes, confusing. But where the call actually connects to is the Skype user you want to talk with.

So for example from my Fascinate phone I chose my father's Skype contact entry and said I wanted to Skype call him. He has Skype set up on his home PC. My phone said that it was calling Georgia - but it was his PC that "rang" and that he picked up. He did the normal skype thing, talking into his PC microphone, hearing me from his PC speakers. We were able to talk fairly well.

Still, I much prefer video conversations, and with my father being hard of hearing, he does as well. I hope they will be rolling that out soon!

In general if you need to text people, and you don't have a text plan, as long as you can get them to install Skype, you can use this for free.

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