That Skype for BlackBerry 10 app? It’ll be an old Android port

BlackBerry Z10

Updated. At the BlackBerry 10 launch event last week, Skype was mentioned as one of the apps “committed” to the new BB 10 platform. The app isn’t here yet, but there’s news about it: Skype for BlackBerry 10 will be a port of Skype for Android, per Skype’s own support page. The Verge spotted the information and notes that the supported Android runtimes for BB 10 are based on Android 2.3.3, which are more than two years old.

skypeandroid-e1309443325432That means Skype for BlackBerry 10 — or any other Android port, for that matter — won’t have all of the modern feature or functions of a Android application supporting Android 4.0 or better. Earlier this week, BlackBerry said that Android 4.1 runtime support could become available in a future update. So once Skype for BlackBerry 10 does appear, don’t be surprised if it looks and feels a little different from the current Android app.

Having attended the BlackBerry 10 event, I’ll admit to feeling a little misled. When a company says it has application commitments for Skype, Amazon Kindle and other apps, I think it reasonable to expect it means native applications.

And what does it say that certain developers are simply going to port an existing app instead of optimizing their software for the platform? I see it as a general lack of confidence in the platform, although to be fair to BlackBerry, in this case, that developer is a close competitor: Microsoft.

I’ll be very curious to see when other high-profile apps that committed to the platform actually deliver the goods. Will they bring old Android apps or actually invest themselves in BlackBerry 10?

Update:

After publication of this post, I received the following quote from a Skype spokesperson:

“You are correct that the Skype app coming to BlackBerry 10 is our very popular Skype for Android app. We are excited that BlackBerry is enabling Android apps like Skype for Android run great on BB10, and are fully supporting the Android runtime environment and Android tools for BlackBerry 10. This allows us to leverage our existing Skype for Android development efforts to quickly have the latest version of our app (Skype for Android 3.1) ready for BlackBerry 10. We are closely collaborating with BlackBerry to ensure the app runs well and that BlackBerry 10 users will have a great Skype experience. To that end, we are working closely with BlackBerry to open up some of the integration points available to native apps in the OS so that they can also be used by the Skype application and we expect the app will allow Skype users to see notifications, to start the app from the Hub, and to see their Skype contacts in the native phone book.”

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