05
Oct
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After months and months of waiting for a voice-enabled Skype to be out on Android and giving Verizon users an evil eye for that exclusive deal Skype signed with the largest US carrier, I am here to tell you that less than 2 hours ago, Skype officially hit the Market. This time, the long-awaited app is no longer restricted to Verizon, so download away (Android 2.1+ required)!

Update: the official Skype blog post is now live, including an intro video. It also acknowledges problems with Galaxy S phones.

Download

Without further ado, fire up that download and then read on for the details. Click the QR code below if you're on the mobile or scan it with Barcode Scanner if you're on your computer.

QR code for https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skype.raider

For those of you who for some reason can't get the app from the Market, I just mirrored it here:

Details and Hands-On

  • I downloaded and installed the app without any problems. Logging in was a breeze too, although the Market started getting flooded with 1-star reviews due to login problems.
  • Android 2.1+ is required - sorry, not 1.5 or 1.6. TechCrunch also now reports that the app is not available in Japan and China.
  • The app description warns you that there is still no calling via your mobile data connection in the US. WiFi only, folks. I tried and, indeed, failed (see screenshots below).
  • You can sync Skype contacts with your Android contact list in 2 configurations - shared only or all contacts! You can also skip this step altogether. This functionality and the setup step is very reminiscent of the official Twitter app.
  • It was able to use the proximity sensor while on a call to black out the screen (unlike the Sprint Visual Voicemail app which was apparently designed by someone without common sense). Notice that I said it blacks it out instead of turning it off, I'm guessing for technical reasons, so that the phone doesn't go to sleep and kill or slow down Skype in the process.
  • The app is CPU intensive - it brought my EVO to its knees at times.
  • Because of the CPU being overloaded, some of my calls ended up unusable due to the other party crackling severely.
  • When crackling didn't happen, the call quality did not impress me - every sound made my internal speaker go a bit distorted, as if the sound itself was too loud (yet, it wasn't, and I wasn't even using a speakerphone).
  • There are nice filtering options available, such as All Contacts, Online contacts, Skype contacts, Saved phone numbers, Recently contacted, and Blocked contacts.
  • There is no video chat.
  • There is group chat (regular text one, not voice) - excellent.
  • Skype did not reload upon reboot, but once I loaded it manually, it did re-login without prompting for a username or password again.
  • It also left a kind of annoying Ongoing notification in the Notification bar saying "Skype Signed in."
  • You can't close the app and prevent it from running unless you log out (My info > Log out). However, if you log out and want to log back in, Skype asks for a password again. This is not desirable user experience.
  • The app is quite massive, weighing in at about 9MB (8,974,442) download and 14MB once installed. No Apps2SD support is available.

Overall, I wouldn't say it's a flawless release, but at the same time, ladies and gentlemen, today Skype made a huge step forward, and I applaud them for that. It is very-very hard to make a robust app of this complexity and caliber, and what I saw today was, looking past the initial bugs, quite polished. So give Skype some credit, and if you have bugs, please report them and be patient - bashing will not achieve anything.

And now, onto the screenshots.

Screenshots

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Source: Skype

Discuss Skype at DroidForums.net

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • Dmitry Soloviev

    At last! I wonder if there is any relation to management changes in Skype...

  • Bo

    Why can you make calls in the US only via WiFi and not 3G?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Most likely a deal with the carriers of some sort.

      • Bo

        That's horrible, why can't we have nice things in the US?

        • JaToMa

          Most of the times it is due to some software patents that do not yield in other countries. However, this time it is probably something else!

    • Duncan Lithgow

      You could try Linphone which is a SIP video phone and works over wifi and 3G. Plus it runs on Linux, Windows, OSX and Android and Iphone without video support yet. Did I mention it's opensource and free? It's in the Android market.

  • NT

    "The requested item is not found," my N1 said when I clicked on the QR code. I can't find Skype in the market either. Is it because I'm outside the US?

    Edit: try this mirror: http://www.multiupload.com/LU08XHM44J

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Perhaps, it's a propagation delay. I'd wait a bit and try again.

  • Jim

    Thanks for letting us know, got mine installed, and been using it already to make calls and chatting with people!

    Awesome!

  • Nikola

    Getting a Market error message message "The requested item could not be found".
    I guess posting the installation .apk file is forbidden eh?

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I just posted a mirror here: http://www.multiupload.com/LU08XHM44J See if you can install it this way.

      • Nikola

        Thank you Artem, appreciated.
        It seem like there are some issues; it keeps crashing short after I log in on Android on HD2.

  • http://www.google.com/profiles/kylehase kylehase

    Use "Market Access" app to download from unsupported markets. Unfortunately looks like my HTC Hero isn't powerful enough. Sound was very choppy even though I was on WiFi (via fiber).

  • crankcaller

    Hmm - pity you can't seem to txt people the way you can from the desktop app.

    You can message folks with skype accounts but not people without skype accounts.
    Hopefully that will come soon.

  • http://www.wix.com/Gigitsu/Gigitsu/Home GigiAUT

    Also, I can't seem to find the option to log out or quit. I think they might have forgotten that. The back button doesn't do anything, and pressing home will just leave it running in the background. HMMmmmmm....

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      It's there but hidden away in My Info tab > Sign Out.

      • http://www.wix.com/Gigitsu/Gigitsu/Home GigiAUT

        Aha. Mine seems to force close everytime I try the My Info tab but then it restarts and signs back in. Only way out is to kill it with a task manager.

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