APP OF THE DAY: Skype for Android

We normally roll out App of the Day slightly later, to give you a little respite from what is bound to have been a tedious day in the office, school, or just mincing around the streets. Whilst your day is probably just beginning, we’ve been beavering away hard to bring you the low down on an exciting app that’s long over due.

Apple iPhone users have been chatting to their heart’s content for some time, and now those of an Android disposition get to join the party. Ladies and gentlemen, today’s App of the Day is … Skype.

Skype for Android

Format
Android
Price
Free
Where
Android Market

The main app is divided into four tabs: contacts, call, my info and events, which are all self explanatory if you are a Skype user. On first starting the application you are asked if you would like to sync with your contacts list - just as with Twitter for Android - so you can link existing contacts or make new contacts from your Skype list.  

We tested Skype for Android on the Motorola Milestone and found that our contacts gained a marker to indicate whether they were online or not, as well as the addition of Skype call and Skype chat options within the contact’s details.  

Android wins out slightly over the iPhone version of Skype because it has a better notification system. As normal, a Skype icon appears in your drag-down status bar and when a chat is taking place there is a speech bubble shown too, so you are less likely to be signed in but oblivious of the fact someone is trying to reach you.  

Calls are voice-only, there is no video option at the moment. Skype can be used over the mobile phone network and Wi-Fi and we happily used it in both conditions and found the voice calling was very clear, with people on the other end commenting on how clear we were. The neat thing is that you don’t just get to call Skype desktop users, you can also call other Skype mobile users, so we put in a call to Skype for iPhone with no problems.  

Chat is neatly handled, appearing as bubbles from alternate sides of the display and your chats don’t get lost in your handset - they also appear in your desktop client, so you can be signed in to both and take your chat with you when you go for lunch or head to the toilet.  

You can also call landlines using your Skype credit at Skype’s reduced calling rates. This means you’ll be able to hook-up to hotel Wi-Fi and place cheap calls whilst abroad right from your handset. If you have an Online Number from Skype the application also supports this, so you can receive incoming calls on that number.  

Everything works as it should and during the days we’ve been testing the application we encountered no problems with it.  

The great thing, though, is that it’s another heavy-weight application for Android. When talking to one proud iPhone user, he commented “ah, so Android just became a little more useful”. We hate to admit it, but he was right.



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