Jim Courtney suggests that the answer to Skype’s woes is hardware. I guess he didn’t like my comment to that post because it’s not showing up on the site.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Skype and hardware are strange bedfellows. Skype zealots like Jim actually like that Skype is hard to use – it makes it cool. Or more accurately, it makes those that are able to use it elite, and special. On a PC, such users will be far more tolerant of voice quality issues because they get such a thrill from the rush of successfully making their PC act like a phone in the first place — only those of us in this cool club make the grade.
On the other hand, plain people that just want to make calls and are not impressed with PC skillz, don’t care. For them, it better just work, simply and reliably. In that case, Skype on a hardware phone offers very little added value over other options.
PC-free Skype hardware was already in retail (e.g. the CIT400) and it fell flat, dropping into the clearance bins rather quickly, with the manufacturers taking a bath. Many of these devices were introduced with huge fanfare, but never went very far. What is different this time?
And by the way, do these hardware devices become Supenodes? If not, what happens if everybody really does use them and there are no Supernodes on the Skype network? Food for thought.
It’s a catch-22 for Skype that they have yet to overcome, and I don’t see anyhing changing.