While I like the idea of another Skype competitor, I don’t really get the competitive difference between Skype and Viber. The most prominent differences as outlined in the Techcrunch article are less power hungry than the current Skype iPhone app and that it is a product that leverages your phone number instead of an ID.
In my mind, those aren’t strong advantages. It is quite conceivable that Skype could change their app to leverage the Apple Push Network. I can’t imagine it being impossible or overly expensive to do if there were enough drop off of mobile usage of Skype’s mobile product.
I see leveraging a phone number instead of an ID to be a severe disadvantage for Viber instead of an advantage. Considering that the product is targeted to smartphone users, I’d think that most smartphone users today generally don’t remember phone numbers. If anything, the reason why most people use smartphones is to generally to contact people by means other than the mobile phone. In fact, there are actually quite a few people whom I communicate with whom I don’t have phone numbers for. Secondly, while not too many people have multiple mobile phone numbers like I do, most people have multiple devices. I think the most common scenario is having a mobile phone, a work computer and a home computer. Having a communication product that forces me to be tied to one device makes it quite unattractive for me.
As I’ve never tried the product and don’t have an iPhone any more, I’m actually quite curious to see how good is this product for it to be given the rating of “amazingly amazing” from TechCrunch.