Friday, 18 November 2011

Mobile Banking

If the Internet made online banking easy, the proliferation of mobile devices and apps have made connecting to your bank even easier. Mobile phones and devices now let you connect to your money from virtually anywhere. While banking online from your computer has risks, connecting from a mobile device has its own unique challenges.

Here are some important things to remember when using a mobile telephone or device to conduct online banking.

-First, password-protect your mobile device. Most phones and tablets allow you to set a password that must be entered in order to use the device. We walk you through that process in a previous Security Matters episode.

-Verify the mobile banking app is legitimate. Most banks allow you to download their application directly from their website. If an app looks suspicious to you, don't download it. If in doubt, call the financial institution directly or visit a local branch.

-If your phone is stolen or lost, immediately notify your bank. They can help assist you in changing your mobile banking profile.

-Monitor your accounts regularly. Any suspicious activity should be reported to your bank as soon as possible. The great thing about mobile banking is that you can monitor your account quickly and easily. If you check your account often, you'll be able to spot any potential fraud sooner rather than later.

-Don't disclose sensitive information via text message or email. Delete any text or email that contains anything like account numbers, passwords, or confirmation codes.

-Finally, remember to logout of your mobile banking app when finished. While most banks log you out automatically after a period of time, always err on the side of caution.

Keep these tips in mind when banking from your mobile device.

Learn more about online security and privacy on our website, at

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Galaxy Nexus Will Recognise You

Google have announced that their latest phone will be manufactured by Samsung and known as the 'Nexus'. The launch will be in November, and details of the specification have begun to emerge.

The most eye catching and original feature is the inclusion of facial recognition technology. The Nexus will use a camera on the front of the device to recognise the face of its rightful owner, and unlock.

At the heart of the device will be a powerful 1.2Ghz processor. The Nexus will ship with the Android 4.0 operating system - dubbed 'Ice Cream Sandwich'.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Secret alcoholism? There's an app for that.

Well not quite - these phoney iPhones are a cunning ruse to allow the secret drinker to tote a few measures of their favourite beverage around with them unmolested by bouncers or corporate policy. One big advantage of swapping your real phone for hip flask in disguise is at least you wont be calling anyone and embarrassing yourself once you have had a few!

If you like this idea you should visit the website of the designer Dhanai Holtzclaw.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Picking the Right Android Launcher

Have you ever read a review of an Android phone that takes points off for a weird or cumbersome user interface (UI)? If so, I strongly recommend you flame that reviewer for being incredibly ignorant, short-sighted, or perhaps just plain biased and misleading. Most likely, the reviewer is an iPhone user.

Any self-respecting Android user knows that you are not stuck with the UI you are given. And no, I don't mean that you have to "root" (the equivalent of "jailbreak" for iPhones) or do anything complicated of that sort. With androids, you can change UIs by simply going to the Android Market and downloading a new launcher.

Most launchers are free, and some will even increase your phone's performance from the original UI left in by your manufacturer. The only problem with launchers is, since there are so many, deciding which one is best for you and your phone.


Zeam is one of the leanest launchers on the Android Market. It requires almost no space to download and uses the least amount of memory of any other launcher I've tried. Zeam is great for people who just want a simple, fast launcher that works as soon as you download the app. While you can customize its appearance and flow to a certain extent, it is not nearly as customizable as its competitors.


Those looking for a more feature-rich launcher should try out the ADW Launcher. ADW allows you to add and subtract screens, customize your docking bar, and customize your application drawer, as well as tweak many other details. ADW also has a very large amount of these for the launcher available in the Android Market for free. Just download one and try out your phone's new look.

While ADW allows for huge amount of customization, this level of control can easily become confusing or overwhelming. I recommend watching tutorials and reading guides about setting up and customizing ADW; you will have a much better experience with this launcher if you spend some time getting acquainted with the UI.

GO Launcher EX

GO Launcher EX appeared to be the happy medium between Zeam and ADW. It worked great out-of-the-box, but I also didn't feel too limited in terms of customizability. Like ADW, I could swipe dock buttons, add and subtract home screens, and download custom themes for the launcher. Performance-wise, I found GO Launcher to run a little smoother on my phone that ADW, and on top of that, I also really liked GO Launcher's native widgets built specifically for their launcher.

Bottom Line

I ultimately decided to stay with GO Launcher EX although it was extremely close between that and ADW. I liked the sleek feel of Zeam, but wanted a launcher with a few more bells and whistles; I still think Zeam is a great choice for people with older phones that tend to run a little choppy.

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online degrees. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

Monday, 20 June 2011

Enthusiasm For Pay-by-Phone

The psychological attachment to physical cash seems to be waning. Coins and notes are dirty, and often inconvenient. It has been necessary to use mobile phones to pay for parking in some places for a while now. According to a recent survey by the polling organisation YouGov, the appetite for using mobile phones to pay in a variety of settings is growing.

An astonishing 1 in 4 British consumers are interested in using their phone to pay for goods as an alternative to cash and cards. As many as 1 in 10 believe that they are likely to be on board when 'wave and pay' technology goes live. This is in spite of concerns that there may be technical issues with the new service.

The use of so-called Near Field Communications or NFC to make payments is expected to be trialled in a variety of settings over the next few years. There is confusion amongst consumers as to whether their current handsets will be compatible with the systems, 36% have no idea whether their phone would be capable of making payments.

As to the perceived benefits of NFC payments, the front runner is convenience. A total of 87% of those polled gave convenience in paying as a reason they would be adopting the technology. Speed of pay payment was seen as something that could be improved by NFC. A similar number believe that it would be easier than carrying cards and cash.

Of those that pan to pay with NFC devices 29% are optimistic that it could help them keep track of their money better. This has been the motivation behind the massive take up of mobile banking in recent times, but some of the same concerns apply to the new technology. Concerns over security and fraud would be an issue for 56% of consumers.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Money Saving iPhone Tips

Exceeding your data plan is easy to do - and can prove costly! If you are not careful you can find yourself racking up the bit and bytes when you are not aware of it. Here are some tips to stop things from getting out of hand.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Harrods iPhone app

Luxury department store Harrods have launched their own iPhone app. Shoppers can now have their butlers download the app to their gold-plated iPhones to help them navigate the store and find what they want. Other features include an events calendar and a history of the store.

Monday, 16 May 2011

99p Phone Arrives

The UK has got its cheapest ever mobile phone. This is the Alcatel OT-209, which is being sold at Carphone Warehouse for just £0.99p on pre-pay. Of course the price does not include the £10 Virgin Mobile credit that it is being bundled with, but this is still an order of magnitude cheaper than the most simple handsets were even a few years ago.

At that price point you would expect the Alcatel OT-209 to be pretty basic, and you would be right. There are few bells and whistles, but it can make and receive voice calls and text messages. That is not to say that it is without its charms.

Obviously the bargain basement price means that it is not a handset you would worry about losing or damaging. It is also super slim, and at 65g is very light. Aside from call and text functions there is even an FM tuner. Battery life is is one of the chief beneficiaries of this phones simplicity, figures given are 400 hours on standby, and up to 5 hours of talk time. The battery is capable of being fully charged in under 2 hours.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Google Music Beta Opens

Google have announced the beta test of there new cloud based music service, which promises to be an 'iTunes killer'. Only available in the USA at present, the service allows users to upload their music library and then be able to listen to it anywhere. Including their Android phones. Other neat feature include the ability to chooses which tracks are backed up locally,as well as a suggestion engine which will contruct playlists based on a the vibe of a track of your choosing.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Mobile Banking: An insight into pros and cons

As a popular and potentially explosively fast-growing service, mobile banking is a serious force in the world of finance. For the customer, however, there are important gains and drawbacks to consider.

Mobile banking, or M-Banking, touted by many as the more convenient heir to Internet Banking, offers its users a portable, easy way to conduct one’s financial affairs without having to enter the doors of a traditional banking establishment. Furthermore, as technology and sophistication in the field of mobile phones has developed, so has the range of tasks available to the user via their device: from applying for loans to changing pin numbers or adjusting your stock market portfolio.

A recent innovation, mobile banking began as a service around the turn of this century providing customers with an opportunity to conduct basic banking tasks via SMS or the “mobile web”. However, it has evolved to suit the times: it is hard to find a financial institution that does not offer m-banking as an iPhone or Google Android app (offering a very wide and sophisticated range of services to the customer), or a respectable modern phone that cannot be comfortably used for m-banking .

It’s not just in its format change from internet banking that mobile banking represents an evolved service to customers: it offers a portable access to one’s financial information that can connect to the internet as long as there are bars on your phone, and a possibility to conduct business far more inconspicuously than with a laptop.

For those who watch the markets it offers a unique tool: instant access to personalised up-to-date information in your pocket; it can also add a decisive advantage for keen investors to receive text alerts about the health of their holdings, or, crucially, competing stocks.

From a purely practical standpoint, for those with physical mobility issues or who live in remote areas, m-banking is a highly valuable tool, constituting an affordable alternative to online banking and an opportunity to save on travel costs.

Another advantage of mobile banking is that the device necessary for its use is far more affordable than that required for internet banking, with many companies offering quality products as a part of a contract (rather than pay-as-you-go). This is a money-saver for those who use m-banking apps, as it is common for banks to offer its services free of charge, for example Ulster Bank's UK mobile banking.

However, the ease of use, security risks and cost-benefit virtues of m-banking should be should be fully weighed against its advantages before becoming a convert.

One problematic technical issue with the use of mobile banking is its compatibility with certain phones: it can be very irritating to find that complex or urgent banking actions (that one was used to doing on a different phone) cannot be carried out on a phone that does not have Java ME, but supports, for example, a SIM application toolkit instead. Some banks offer services that only work with the former but not the latter, and so on. This is due to change, because the industry is aware of and motivated to overcome format inoperability, and will profit from such a development; until then, the issue is a contemporary headache.

Another technical issue that bears consideration is that of m-banking application upgrades: it is inevitable that app performance and customer demand will lead to novel services and improvements that require upgrades. Consequently, many phones are and increasingly will be expected to be able to automatically update apps. Although this is quite possible, it will be a challenge for banks and application producers to implement as well as for customers to keep up with, effectively isolating a section of m-banking users and custom where clients do not have advanced phones.

Whatever technical challenges lay ahead for customers, the security risks of mobile banking are worthy of far greater concern- they cause more than just irritation: they can be a portal for criminal activity and personal loss. Identity theft can open one’s personal details up, in the worst cases, to highly organised hacking operations that will attempt to drain your money dry with efficiency and virtual anonymity.

Having said that, it is important to remember M-Banking is without doubt a growth market for financial institutions: predictions from respected sources (berg insight : predict 115 million mobile banking users in Europe alone by 2015, and around 80 Million in the US in the same timeframe. Mobile banking is therefore big business and accordingly, banks protect the security of their clients’ interests as their own- any business that gains a reputation for poor security in this highly competitive field would surely lose customers, and profit. As a result, all financial institutions using m-banking will do everything in their power to protect your money and your security details. In some cases, there are security guarantees that appear to ensure refunds in the case of successful online fraud, for example Wells Fargo:

Methods to combat insecurity of information include reliable options such as one-time passwords sent to your message inbox or email address by your bank (if that address itself is secure!); intelligently-encrypted information transfer (most contemporary, developed m-banking tools will do this); encryption of any insecure data stored in the device and a host of other protections.

Having said that, there is no absolute guarantee of security in the world of electronic commerce, only high and low risk trading partners . It is fair to say that most trusted names are very safe, nonetheless it is up to the consumer to exercise caution where it is due.

The choice of whether to use mobile banking or not rests on the degree to which it assists one’s needs: if you require an “any time, any place” access to your bank, it is ideal; if you are not in need of such a service and have gnawing security concerns, it may be prudent to stick to what you know.

If you are choosing an m-banking service, opt for a bank with security credentials.

RIP Cheap Phone Deals

Cheap mobile phone deals seem to be becoming a thing of the past. The problem? Meddling Brussels bureaucrats.

The was a trend for very cheap monthly mobile phone contracts. Back in February you could land a monthly deal for as little as £5. The catch being that these deals tended to lock in customers for up to 36 months. As of May 1 it has been illegal under European law not offer offer a contract of 12 months.

Certainly the commitment of 24 month contract can come back to bite you. In two years phones can move on a lot - you may not still be happy paying the premium for that handset. With high featured handsets dropping in price as competition hots up, buying handsets outright could increasingly become the way to go.

Friday, 6 May 2011

A Paper Phone?

Could the future of mobile phones by paper thin? That's researchers at Canada Queens University. They have created a prototype device that is 'printed' on a sheet of material that is no thicker than a sheet of paper, and is just as flexible.

To interact with the phone users will bend, fold and write on the device. The creator DR Joel Vertegaal is quoted by the BBC as saying "Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years".

The display works using e-ink. This is the technology that is used in e-book readers such as Amazon's Kindle. This display is touch sensitive.

The PaperPhone prototype will be displayed at the Computer Human Interaction Conference in Vancouver. Joining it will be a multi-purpose device called the Snaplet. This is a strip of similar materials as that used in the PaperPhone - it is to be worn as a bracelet. When it is flattened out it will have the functions of a PDA, when it is wrapped around the wrist it will work as a watch and when it is bent the other way it will be a phone.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Skype to display ads

Skype recently announced that it will introduce advertising to boost revenue ahead of listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The popular free internet communications service founded in 2003, announced plans to raise up to $100 million by going public.
The ads won't interrupt your Skype experience
Skype channels voice, video and text conversations over the internet, thereby bypassing the standard telephone network said the ads will initially appear in the US, UK and Germany and will be seen by both personal and the increasing number of business users who are exploring the web based functionality of Skype.

"The Skype experience is our first priority, which is why we we've taken a lot of time working through and testing what kind of advertising would work best in the Skype environment," Skype said in a blog post.

"We believe that advertising, when done in the right way, will help us continue to invest in developing great products," the company said.

Advertisers that are expected to feature on Skype include Groupon, the discount coupon site, Visa and Universal Pictures.

On launch adverts will begin to appear in the home tab in Skype for Windows and Skype has said that they may experiment with ads in other areas as well."

"The ads won't interrupt your Skype experience," the company said. "You won't suddenly see annoying pop-up ads or flashy banner ads in middle of conversations."

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Divorce? Turns out, theres an app for that...

Divorce, the breaking of the 'unbreakable' bond of of holy matrimony, is more popular than it has ever been. Whether you are bored and want a change or want to punish them for calling you fat by making sure they can't see their kids, so-called 'reverse-weddings' are seen by many as the way to go. Splitting up is never easy to do, but now there is an app which says it can help.

The iPhone app in question is called 'Divorce?'. It is on sale for £9.99 from the iTunes's store. It aims to make the process of getting divorced as fun and trendy as a game of 'Angry Birds'.

The ins and outs of divorce are all explored, including the financial side. It is intended to inform couples who want to split of what the deal is before they get into the formal legal stages.

As an idea, it is an interesting one. By taking some of the expensive legal knowledge and making it available via an app accessibility to legal services is improved. Getting a solicitor on board is a big commitment in itself, so perhaps knowing what is in store can help people to get what what they want from the process.

Solicitors, of course, engage in a wide variety of work. Making a will is possibly something that could benefit from an app made by legal experts. Whether you would want you iPhone to put on a wig and defend you before a judge though, seems less likely.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Mobile Banking - Early Years

This video from 2008 is a demonstration of one of the early mobile apps to facilitate banking directly from a mobile device. The handset is a Sony Erricasson and much of the time appears to be waiting for connections to be completed.

The orignal software MONILINK apears to have been used by various high street banks including Ulster Bank - part of the RBS group. Ulster Bank's customers soon warmed to the idea of managing their financial investments and savings accounts whilst on the move and is helping Ulster Bank's commitment to helpful banking

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Ofcom Tells Mobile Phone Networks To Cut Charges

Guest post by Alvina Lopez

Earlier this march, Ofcom finally stepped in and took action against mobile communications companies, namely O2, Vodafone, and Everything Everywhere, requiring them to cut the charges they bill telecommunications rivals to handle calls on other networks by as much as 80 percent starting April 1.

This is good news for landline customers, whose phone calls to mobiles often incur high charges, some of which top out at almost 4.18p a minute. Landline customers can now breathe a sigh of relief when they pick up the phone to ring a mobile user. Over the next four years, charges will drop from 4.18p a minute to 2.66p in April, with the ultimate goal of reaching around .65p in 2014.

Many are pleased, naturally, with the Ofcom ruling, praising it for leveling the playing field for customers and making communication between citizens much more affordable. Landline users could see dramatic reductions in their fees, as landline telecommunications companies pass on the savings to their customers.

However, telecommunications industry insiders warn that this loss of revenue over the next few years may force them to raise charges for other services, including the rates for pay-as-you go customers just so they can recoup the losses. These pay-as-you go customers, according to one source cited in The Independent, often received more calls than placed calls, which generated revenues under the higher termination fees. With this change, however, mobile operators might have to create other fees, such as charging per handset or demanding minimum monthly payments from these customers.

Ultimately, the announcement from Ofcom is good news for users, though time will tell how the telecommunications industry adjusts to the change. Ernest Doku, an expert at, calls this a victory against the "bully boys" but warns "In theory, mobile bills should also come down—but in reality, the networks may look to introduce charges elsewhere to make up for the loss of income."

Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez

Thursday, 17 February 2011

iPhone Mini?

Apple have announced that alongside the new iPhone 5 there will be an additional phone added to their range.

Hoping to compete with Android handsets that run across a variety of sizes and price points the new handset will retail for around $200 without contract. Very few details are known at this stage but it is thought that the handset will be smaller than the main line of iPhones.

The premium cost of iPhone handsets has led to slow adoption across many markets, where consumers are reluctant to get tied into long term contracts. By creating a smaller, cheaper, iPhone Apple may be able to extend their market share to the demographic who are currently purchasing the products made by their rivals.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Saving On Insurance

To ensure a smartphone on a dedicated policy can cost £10 or more a month. With handsets having a price comparable to a laptop it is understandable that you want to protect that investment - and once you have a smartphone doing without one quickly becomes almost inconceivable. Opting for a dedicated mobile phone insurance however may not be your best option.

Mobile phone insurance does not take into account individual risk in the same way that other forms of insurance do. Careful mobile phone owners who are good at not losing things have to subsidize the serial phone losers of the world. If you are in this group, well good for you, if not you will be paying to much to insure your mobile.

It is possible to get phone insurance bundled in with other services. Some premium bank accounts and credit cards offer phone insurance as a perk for instance, but obviously it is very important to read the small print,as the cover offered may not be of the highest standard.

Home contents policies frequently include mobile phones, even if they are lost or damaged outside your home. The excess on some of these policies however can be prohibitive, and claiming runs the risk of raising your premiums.

An increasingly popular option is so called 'self insurance'. Calculating your own premium, based on the cost to replace your phone, and simply putting the money aside each month. The best way is to set up a direct debit to an instant access savings account, and then raiding it when a replacement phone needs to be bought. This works best for relatively low value handsets as it could take longer than 6 years at £5 a month to save sufficient funds to pay for a replacement for one of the more expensive smartphones.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Noisily Brilliant?

HTC are keen to present their Desire HD handset as an 'iPhone killler' to that end they have launched a massive global advertising push. The company, who's slogan is "Quietly Brilliant" hopes that wider recognition will move it from being a brand favored by 'early adopters' to having more mainstream appeal.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The 80s are calling...

Nowadays, when there are more mobile phones than people it is easy to forget the days when owning a portable telephone really meant something. Back when mobile phones were introduced they were expensive, huge and true status symbols.

In many ways the iPhone and other high end smart phones have represented a return to this golden era. Battery life has been reduced almost to the level where unplugging the the thing means communication blackout, the prices are aspirationally high, and (allegedly) making and receiving calls is troublesome. Unfortunately though, one thing is missing - conspicuous consumption.

To solve this problem mobile phone accessory maker Thumbs Up! have launched a retro '80s iPhone case. Compatible with iPhone 3GS and 4 it is being marketed as a novelty gift and prop for fancy dress parties.

Unfortunately the product appears cheap and inauthentic. In addition they have missed a trick when it comes to functionality. There is none. Features such as a long life battery back-up and decent speakers for playing music could have made a virtue out of absurdity.

Its a nice idea - lets hope somebody can make the most out of it.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Man Tattoos Verizon Logo On Hand

This is a video of a man in the process of tattooing the logo for Verizon Wireless onto his hand...

The man is Daniel Carrion, a tattoo artist. He also plans to do the same on his forehead - and no he is not being paid to. A tattoo is forever - will Verizon last the next 50 years without a re-brand?

Monday, 24 January 2011

10 Things You Can Control With Your iPhone

It can be hard to keep up with technological advances. So many neat gadgets, so little time! On the other hand, it's important to get the most out of your gadgets (especially the ones you already own). Not only does knowledge equate to power, but in this case knowing about technology is also fun, cool, and practical. Staying abreast of technology options can save time,
money, and create convenience.

Smartphones, in particular, are becoming more and more sophisticated with a broader range
of abilities. Apple's iPhone is one of the most powerful smartphones on the market. Developers
have created thousands of amazing apps for the iPhone. Some of the best apps are widgets that
allow an iPhone or iPod Touch to be used as a remote control. Let's look at 10 things you can
control with your iPhone.

VLC or Boxee.

The Video LAN client, a popular, free media player application, can be controlled using
your iPhone. Just download the free VLC Remote app (or buy a premium version). If you have
Boxee, use your iPhone as a remote for this as well.


The iPhone can be used as a remote control for the Xbox Media Center. Watch movies on your
Mac the easy way—with a remote! You'll need to download the XBMC Remote app.


This practical and free remote app (launched with the original iPhone and App Store) allows
you to control iTunes from Wi-Fi range. You'll be able to adjust the volume, pause, or find a
different song all from the comfort of your bed or from another room in the house. Other apps
will control home stereo systems.

Apple TV.

The same free app that works with iTunes will also work to control Apple TV's box—a much
better alternative than the plastic remote that comes with Apple TV.

Auto Security.

In addition to entertainment options, the iPhone has many other practical capabilities. Keep an
eye on your car or truck from a distance using your iPhone as a security monitoring camera by
downloading one of the many monitoring apps from the App Store.

Home Security.

The best way to keep burglars out is to keep them guessing. Home automation apps allow you
to use your iPhone to lock and unlock doors, and adjust the lighting throughout the house from


The iPhone can be used for business purposes. Use your iPhone to remotely control business
presentations. Most apps are only $0.99!


Your iPhone or iPod Touch can be used as a wireless trackpad and keyboard using an app like
the Air Mouse Pro by Mobile Mouse Pro.


Virtual network computing (VNC) lets you view and control desktop software remotely.


Last but not least, Adobe Photoshop can be controlled via a toolbar on your iPhone.

With so many outstanding free apps, it's easy to take advantage of technology. Apple's constant
record of innovation means plenty of options for your iPhone now and in the future.

Guest post by @mrscathypierce. Cathy Pierce is a business professional turned stay-at-home mom. She loves her kids, good TV and the Web.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

New Chinese Smartphone

This is the newest smart phone concept to emerge from China. Dubbed the 'Line Phone' it has already been the recipient of industry plaudits. These include the coveted 2010 Furong Cup ‘Digital Product and Service Design Competition’ in China.

It remains to be seen what Apple have up their sleeve for the iPhone 5 due out in the summer, but the smart money is on a moderate evolution rather than the emergence of any drastic and innovative design concepts.

Although the phone is just at the concept stage it is already generating quite a lot of interest. One problem that will have to be overcome is achieving a level of brand equity that can compete with the giants already in this market. If the hardware can match the hype however then the handsets featuring this design DNA will surely get consumers raiding their savings accounts to upgrade before the end of their contracts.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Skype Hits 27M Online Users

Skype, a online program that allows you to make free calls over the internet, announced on Monday that it hit 27 million users online at the same time. "New record: 27 million people online on Skype right now!" the VoIP service announced on its Facebook page.

The announcement comes almost two months after Skype announced that it had recorded 25 million users Skyping at once. "Our software is designed to handle large numbers of concurrent users, with wideband audio and group video calls all flowing smoothly around the world," the company wrote in a blog post at the time.

Skype was also at the Consumer Electronics Show last week , where it announced its acquisition of mobile service provider Qik, as well as an improved video-chat feature that allows 10 people to videoconference together for just $8.99 per month.