updated 12:35 pm EDT, Thu June 30, 2011
Skype video calling finally reaches Android
Skype after prolonged delays at last enabled video calling in its Android app (Android Market). The update allows two-way calls on certain devices with front cameras and will talk to any other Skype platform, including iOS devices as well as Macs and Windows PCs. It also touts a much easier interface with better access to contacts, account info, and a new mood menu to share status independently of any call.
The app continues to support both free Skype-to-Skype voice and chat as well as paid texting and voice calls to and from traditional phone numbers.
In spite of Verizon's promises of Skype video at the start of the year, none of the initially supported devices run on its network. Skype is supporting just four Android 2.3 devices, including Google's Nexus S reference phone, the HTC Desire S, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, and its slider equivalent the Xperia Pro. More devices are due to come "very soon."
The release underscored continued issues with fragmentation in Android. As of the start of June, only 9.2 percent of Google's user base were running the new OS and only some in turn could use the new Skype app. Most, 64.6 percent, use Android 2.2 and in some cases have to make sacrifices to upgrade if allowed at all.
No mention has been made of plans of a native Skype app on Android 3 tablets despite news of an imminent Skype iPad app.