If you happened to take a peek at the small pulldown menu at the top of the RF dialer this morning, you may have noticed a new service offering.
Yes, just in time for the announcement of a whole new iPhone at Apple’s World Wide Developer’ Conference, we’ve added Skype calling to the features available on RF.com.
And you don’t even need a Skype account to make a Skype call with RF.com.
The process is the same as calling a GoogleTalk or MSN Messenger friend with RF.com.
If your Skype “buddy” is online, you can call her by selecting Skype from the RF dialer pulldown menu, and entering her Skype user name in the dialer and clicking “Call”. Alternatively, you can bypass the the pulldown altogether by entering the call recipient’s user name followed by “@skype” (i.e.: SkypeBuddy@skype) and clicking the “Call” button.
As with all other services, you can add your Skype buddy to your list of “Favorites” on the RF dialer to reach her with a single click.
The outgoing call is actually made by RF.com’s own Skype account (which is why you don’t need your own Skype account to make a Skype call with RF.com), but we’ve made it so that the Skype user getting the call is notified, via an IM message immediately before the Skype “phone” rings, who is calling. For now, the recipient sees only your cell phone number, but we’ll be adding your name in the pseudo caller-ID in the future.
One caveat: Because of the way Skype works (its proprietary approach requires that we run a full Skype client on our servers for each current call), and because RF.com is still in Beta, the number of concurrent Skype calls we can handle is not open-ended. So, though we don’t anticipate this to be common, you may, particularly in peak calling times, have to try more than once to connect.
We’ve got creative ways of addressing this limitation that we’ll be implementing soon. And as we continue to grow, we’ll need them.
Tell us how Skype calling is working, and suggest any improvments, in the comments below.