Redmond has just launched the Metro version of its Skype WiFi application. This Modern UI app offers support for both desktops and tablets that run either Windows 8 or Windows RT.

For the uninitiated, the Skype WiFi app provides quick and easy WiFi access through hotspots at public places like hotels, restaurants, bars, airports and train stations.

It allows users to connect to the Internet using a hotspot and pay for the minutes used with Skype Credit, making this a handy and affordable option for users that travel frequently. The official description Microsoft has put up explains it best:

“Skype WiFi is a fantastic way to browse the internet when you’re on the move, using your Skype Credit as payment to log in to public WiFi hotspots around the world. No more fumbling with credit cards or cumbersome sign up processes when you’re out there – you can simply use your Skype Credit to get online. You only pay per minute for what you use.”

An iOS version of the application is already available for Apple users, for both the iPhone and the iPad.

The application connects to the Internet with a simple tap or click, and the device can then be used to browse the Internet and download files. Each session lasts for a maximum of 30 minutes, whereby users can reconnect if they wish to continue.

Skype WiFi is available on the Windows Store with a freeware license.

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  • Rumin8

    To me it is unclear what exactly Skype Wifi does. As far as I can figure out, it simply mediates the establishment of the connection such that payment is on a per-minute basis agreed with the service provider concerned.

    What is not mentioned anywhere, with regard to Skype Wifi, is what happens about security. We all know that public wifi is dodgy. Suppose you use a mail program. When the connection to the internet becomes available, it will take the opportunity to download new mails. In doing so, it has to send your login credentials, which are likely the same as your Microsoft Account if you are using Windows 8. Are they and the email contents sent as plain text? Oops!

    Now suppose you have a VPN account. Unfortunately you need to establish a wifi connection before you engage the VPN. So there is a brief delay during which communications is running before the VPN kicks in. It is likely that in that short interval the Mail app (and others) will pass out and/or receive personal information. This is crazy!

    What is more crazy is that, NOWHERE in the information about Skype Wifi is there ANY mention of the obvious need for security, or how one might go about implementing it, yet it boldly claims you can not only make Skype calls but check your emails and browse the web. As such, it is a security disaster waiting to happen, negating all the attempts Microsoft has made to beef up security within the Windows 8 operating system.