Last October another great application dives into Android. Up until now we’ve had only limited versions or imitations, leaving us to resort to third parties. But those days are over. The official version of Skype has finally reached Android.
For those of you unfamiliar with Skype (highly unlikely), it’s the most well-known company offering VoIP (Voice over IP), or in other words, free calls on the internet. If your friends have Skype, the call is free. If not, you can still call landlines and cell phones anywhere in the world at really low rates (between 2-5 cents per minute). Until recently, there was no official application for Android and the third party apps available didn’t support free calls between users. That was until now. The application graphics are impressive.
To begin with, we’re asked to sign in, with the option of registering. We’re then displayed with a series of tabs for navigating between the different application functions: Contacts, Calls, Profile and Events (each one is fairly self-explanatory).
The application also supports:
• Instant messaging between users
• Skype-to-Skype calls
• Calls to landlines and cell phones
• Incoming calls
• Participation in group calls (conference calls)
• Android address book sync (adding in 2.1 the option to call each contact via Skype)
• Call diversion
• Favorite contacts, groups of contacts
But for the time being, the following isn’t possible:
• Skype voicemail
• Skype SMS
• Skype File transfer
Even so, we can’t complain! Download it here or from the official website: skype.com/m
Who can use it?
• At the moment it’s only compatible with Android 2.1 or over. For some strange reason, the Samsung Galaxy S isn’t supported…
The big debate
As you can see, this service is awesome. When Skype was “PC only”, no problem… So now it’s available on all smart phones (Android, iPhone, BB, Symbian), what’s the big deal? Well, now everyone can make free calls, or almost free, between phones!
As you can imagine, Voice over IP isn’t exactly a telephone operator’s dream since they lose vast amounts of money. As a result, Voice over IP is limited or even prohibited by Spanish companies. If you want, you can call, but don’t be surprised when you receive an astronomical bill.
Solutions: for the time being, there are 2.
• Call via Wi-Fi. It makes sense and it’s easy, especially since all the latest phones support WiFi. On the down side, if you can’t connect to the internet, you can’t call.
• Certain companies such as Vodafone are offering fixed rates that include VoIP, but the price is considerably higher (40€ per month or more).
It’s about time companies faced up to the fact that VoIP is the future and gradually, they’ll have to adapt their billing and tariffs to a single flat rate. But, one step at a time…
We’ve tested them all and they get our seal of approval
Happy applications discovery![Via elAndroidelibre]