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)!
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.
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.
Discuss Skype at DroidForums.net