Skype for Android Comes to Select 'Gingerbread' Smartphones

Skype for Android offers two-way video calling on only four Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" smartphones: the Google Nexus S, HTC Desire 5, Sony Ericsson Xperia neo and Sony Ericsson Xperia pro.

Skype, the PC calling company Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is buying for $8.5 billion, launched its Skype for Android application to let owners of Android smartphnes make video calls from the popular VOIP software.

Android handsets owners will be able to make calls to and receive calls from Skype contacts who are using landlines, Android phones, Apple's iPhone, Windows and Mac computers, as well as some Web-connected TVs. Skype for Android users may also send SMS messages to friends and family.

The app works over WiFi and 3G mobile broadband connections.

Skype's Mobile app has been available on Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZW)for awhile, but the app didn't support video calls. Android smartphone users were left using other video-calling services, such as Qik or ooVoo.

The big caveat with the new app, version, is that it only covers a handful of handsets running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system and have a front-facing camera.

These phones currently include: the Google Nexus S, HTC Desire 5, Sony Ericsson Xperia neo and the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro.

Mark Douglas, Skype's project manager for Android and Symbian applications, apologized for this paucity of options and said he and his team are working to add more device support to the app.

"We are sorry if your device currently does not support video for the Skype for Android app," Douglas apologized. "But, rest assured, we plan to roll out support for more Android handsets very soon."

Douglas said he and his team redesigned the Skype for Android user interface. The app now includes a new main menu that lets users more efficiently navigate through their contacts, change details in their Skype profile, and use the dial pad for calls.

Skype for Android is available from Google's Android Market. Engadget has a brief review of the refreshed app.