Android Gets Skype App Before Apple Does

Here’s one we didn’t see coming.  Starting today, G1 and other Android users will be able to download Skype Lite from the Android Market.  The official app allows for voice calling to other mobile handsets or desktops running Skype. We would have bet money on the iPhone seeing this first.  Oh well!

While it doesn’t quite support video calling, this software is also available for over 100 other Java-based phones from 5 top handset makers.  Call it pure coincidence, but 4 out 5 of these companies (LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Nokia) are members of the Open Handset Alliance. Maybe down the road their Android handsets will come preloaded with the software.  That probably depends on what the carriers want to see loaded though and we can’t imagine them being too willing to offer customers an alternative to their expensive minutes.  Especially when it comes to international calling.

The basic features of the Lite version of Skype are:

  • Make Skype-to-Skype calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world
  • Send/receive instant messages to/from individuals or groups
  • Make Skype calls at low rates to people on landline or mobile phones
  • Receive calls to your online personal phone number on Skype
  • See when your Skype contacts are online/available to chat

Also making news today for Skype is the announcement of a Skype designed for Intel’s Atom-based mobile internet devices (MID’s).  Intel is one of the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance in case you’re new to this Android thing.  This version of Skype will support video calling as well as instant messaging.

You know what, maybe these aren’t all chance happenings… Skype is owned by eBay, also an OHA member from day one.  Maybe there’s some Hall of Justice where these super powers get together to discuss secret stuff and work on projects together.

  • You forgot to say that there are no FREE skype-to-skype calls and that device slows down significantly when you run skype.

    Also, I wouldn’t be too hapy about Android getting this app first (before iPhone) as iPhone might just get the real thing while we will be cheering for this Lite stuff.

  • Shane

    Although not a app from Skype themselves, Fring has offered an app for the iPhone for a few months now that does allow Skype calling, as well as also interfacing with a ton of popular IM services all in one app.

    Trufone also has an iPhone app that allows Skype calls.

    They seem to be pretty comprehensive, so I’m curious what features Skype puts in their official app on Android that the 3rd party interfaces with Skype don’t have.

  • Mike

    So it seems you have to be signed up with a mobile operator. Why can’t skype just let you get a developer android phone, without a cell phone carrier agreement, and let you make all of your calls for cheap using just skype minutes on wifi? I don’t won’t to get into another 2-year cell contract! I just want to pay for skype minutes only. Is this ever going to be possible?

    • Joel

      My brother in law does this with his ITouch game via wifi.

  • Andrew

    Yeah, this application is crap. We need a real skype application that does real VO-IP.
    Plus a real IM program with MSN would be great.. Meebo crashes way way too much

  • justAPhoneUser

    What is this stuff where you select a Skype contact and it makes a LONG DISTANCE call into the Skype network? WHAT IS THE POINT IF THERE IS NO VO-IP?

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