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Skype makes a somewhat shaky start on Android

by Ian Black

Skype changed the world. There were Internet calling solutions available before Skype, but when Skype arrived, with its easy-to- use free audio and video calling service, it started a phenomenon that changed the way people use their home and mobile phones. Skype also pressed carriers and cable companies to adjust their offerings in order to compete.

Now, Skype has arrived on Android. Overall, it’s a great first step on this platform – but the free app needs improvement.

In case you’re not familiar with Skype, you can call any other Skype user for free once you register for the service. Because millions use Skype, it will be easy to find people you know, and over PCs and on some phone platforms, you can also make video calls using the service.

Unfortunately, one of the issued with the Skype Android app is that there isn’t a way to use the video function. Hopefully, this feature is already in the works.

For calling landlines or non-Skyped mobiles, you’ll need to pay, but the rates are very inexpensive; you can pre-pay with Skype credits or subscribe monthly.

You can also chat for free with other Skype users. This is handy over a phone, where we all now type more than talk. In my testing on a Nexus One, both the Skype calls and chat worked smoothly.

Over some phones, like Nokia Symbian phones, you can also text for free, but again, this feature isn’t yet available on Skype Android.

All signs point to this being a first step for Skype on the Android platform, especially since it not yet on par with Skype on other phones. For this reason, I rate Skype Android a 3 out of 5 bars. If you’re a Skype user, it’s worth the download.