If you haven't already heard of Skype then you're either a medieval knight that has accidentally ended up in the wrong millennium, or living in North Korea, in which case you're probably not reading this right now. Skype is well known as a messenger and VoIP service. That means "Voice over IP" for you land lubbers. Don't know what IP stands for? Well do a Google search it's not that complicated.
Closer to the sky(pe)
Although Skype for Android devices is kind of the same as the desktop version, the big difference stands in mobility. Whereas applications like WhatsApp have been designed specifically for mobile phones, Skype was suited for this task long before its developers were probably aware of it. Being transposed to phones and tablets, Skype for Android retains both of its main features.
The instant messenger has a pleasing visual scheme and besides basic chat messages, you can send files, take photos and record video messages. You can also add multiple participants to a conversation.
Audio and video calls are available except group calls do not work in this instance. So that means you cannot connect to a group video conversation from your tablet which is quite the pity since this would have been the main appanage of going mobile. Besides that, it's still impossible to be notified of a missed call while Skype is not running. This probably helps with keeping the battery form draining too fast but isn't it a bit absurd? So you want to keep Skype open all the time in order to catch calls. Great!
As with the desktop version, Skype to Skype calls are free (but both users need the same version) while other calls cost money. You can charge your account with credit or buy a subscription if you're feeling chatty.
- Audio calls to any Skype account or phone number
- Video calls to any Skype account
- Instant messenger
- Group messaging
- Contact search
I rather use a tablet than a desktop computer to communicate over Skype. Of course, a small enough laptop would also work in terms of ergonomics but a tablet will probably remain the best option. At least until those rotating monitors from Demolition Man become trendy.
- Skype to Skype audio and video calls are free.
- Can do group conversations via the messenger.
- You can make calls to regular phone numbers on a subscription plan.
- You cannot participate in group video calls.
- There are no call notifications except while Skype is in view (messenger notifications work though).
- The phone version suffers from a number of bugs and it's missing the ability to add new contacts.
Skype for Android appears to be a missed opportunity. Enabling call notifications and allowing tablets to participate in conferences would have been terrific. As it is, it's just a decent communication app.