Skype for Android Brings VOIP to Droid Line
Skype Oct. 5 made its voice over IP calling capabilities available to HTC and Motorola smartphones running Google's Android platform version 2.1 and later.
Users with Skype accounts who own such handsets as the Motorola Droid, HTC Droid Incredible and HTC Evo 4G can now make free Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messages from their phones to users' computers or phones.
Skype users will also enjoy making low-cost international calls. To call phones using Skype abroad, users must dial the number in Skype and pay with Skype Credit, or make unlimited calls with a subscription.
Skype offered some caveats. Skype doesn't guarantee the app will work outside of HTC and Motorola devices with Android 2.1 and Android 2.2 and later.
For example, the phone won't work particularly well with Samsung Galaxy S devices from Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T or Verizon Wireless. The company said it is working to address the issues.
Those who use Skype with a mobile data connection may incur operator charges, so the company recommends users subscribe to an unlimited plan if they are going to use the app.
Also, Skype users can only make calls over WiFi in the United States. Finally, Skype is not available in the Android Market in China or Japan.
Skype Mobile Product Manager Mark Douglas explains how the app works in this YouTube video, but it's also pretty simple to explain.
First, a user downloads the free Skype app from the Android Market, or from skype.com/m on their phone.
Any of the 560 million registered Skype users who use Skype from their desktop computer and own an Android device will see their full contact list when you sign in to Skype on your Android phone.
Users will then tap on a contact in Skype from their Android phone and tap call. Users looking for their friends on Skype can type "add contact" and the app will search the users' contacts in Skype's directory. Instant messaging works similarly, by tapping contacts, and by typing in messages on the phone's keyboard.
Skype isn't the only VOIP provider looking to serve Android users. Fring Oct. 4 unveiled its offering to let Android phone owners call out to any phone in the world starting at 1 cent per minute. That's a break from Skype's Skype-to-Skype model.
Skype has had a busy week since news broke that it was working on a deep integration with Facebook to enable Skype users to call or instant message their Facebook contacts.
Skype 5.0 is expected to hit beta this month, which should bring some additional new perks to the mix.