Skype Expands to Most Android Phones, Wi-Fi Only in U.S.

14 Comments

Skype has expanded availability of its Internet calling service to most Android (s goog) phones, though U.S. users will be forced to make calls over Wi-Fi. Skype said today that a new client for Android phones running 2.1 or higher is now available for download in Android Market or at skype.com.

In most countries — with China and Japan notable exceptions — Skype will enable free Skype-to-Skype calls over 3G and Wi-Fi. You can make cheap calls to non-Skype users with Skype Credits and call people through your contacts list on your phone.

Skype said the service may work on earlier versions of Android, but there are no guarantees. Skype is also working on addressing issues with Galaxy S phones. The news comes a day after Skype announced that Cisco (s csco) executive Tony Bates is taking over as CEO of Skype.

The expansion of Skype on Android will be welcome news for many Android users. Skype first appeared on Android phones (and others) from Verizon (s vz) phones in March, but was limited to 3G calls. It was also only on Verizon, and hasn’t been available on Android phones from other U.S. carriers. Initially, my colleague Om Malik feared the Verizon deal was engineered by the carrier to combat the iPhone (s aapl) and would prevent other carriers from getting Skype for a couple of years. It’s nice to see that other Android users will be able to use the app, even if it’s only via Wi-Fi here in the U.S..

The iPhone has had Skype over Wi-Fi since last year, and earlier this year, 3G calling was enabled. It’s unclear why we’re still saddled with Wi-Fi restrictions here in the U.S. with Android phones. When 3G calling functionality was enabled on the iPhone, Skype said it was a result of the operators’ move to tiered pricing. We might have to wait until all carriers move to that model in the U.S. before we get Skype calls over 3G on Android devices.

While Skype on Android is good news for sure, I’m still waiting for the day Skype adds mobile video calling. The recent success of Tango suggests that video calling from Skype would be a hugely popular feature if the company made the obvious move to enable it.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):


14 Comments

larry

if i have an android phone but i dont have internet, will the facebook app work with internet from wifi or do i have to have internet that i pay for?

Niki

Payam,

No, you’re definitely not the only one. In the Market description, Skype does say that it doesn’t include Galaxy S support, and many users in the comments are complaining about that issue. No idea why they would roll out an Android app without this!

TomboVienna

Here in Austria. “Sorry, Skype is unavailable for your mobile. We add new handsets all the time so check back soon.”

Have a Galaxy S.

How long should I wait?

tal

Well Fring is disappointing in many ways.
Tried it several times and removed it from my Android.

Skype is betraying their customers.
I pay a lot to Skype and now am pretty pissed as having guess what – a Galaxy S. lol.

Trying Tango now.

Payam

you are able to use this app on T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy? I thought I was the only one having issues but looking over some of the early app reviews and twitter this appears to be a very poorly developed app. It is 14MB in size and missing some key functionalities.

Time to take it back to the lab, Skype!

Ricky Cadden

It doesn’t make any sense that Skype would wait until tiered data pricing to support 3G calling – without an unlimited data pipe, I’m less likely to use 3G to make calls. I suppose it makes sense if Skype wants to play nicely with the carriers, but that’s still bunk for users.

Doesn’t matter, though. We still have Nimbuzz on Android for Skype calling over 3G, and it’s only a matter of time before the XDA gang finds a way to spoof your location to make 3G calls in the U.S.

Om Malik

Ricky

Their partnership with Verizon might be reflective of the future deals with carriers. I am pretty certain that is a “model” most phone companies would be interested in going forward. I don’t think carriers can handle the fact that people don’t want their voice, especially long distance voice.

Ricky Cadden

That’s true, Om, and I can respect that they want to keep that option open, as it’s a potential future revenue stream that would keep the service more free for me, which I’m also cool with.

I think I’m just annoyed that it’s singled out to the U.S. If the app only did WiFi-calling for *everyone*, I don’t think I’d be annoyed.

As mentioned, though, Nimbuzz does 3G Skype calling over AT&T’s data connection, so I guess I don’t really have anything to complain about. :)

Eonit

Can you save history though?
And some sites say you can do calls on 3G some are saying otherwise. Seems to be some confusion
-> Skype Available in Android Market
I am excited however. Just hope its not a major battery hog like the facebook app.

Comments are closed.