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10/5/2010
08:16 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Skype Expands Availability To All Android 2.1 Devices

Nearly eight months after Skype debuted on Verizon Wireless' Android handsets, Skype has made its VoIP software available to all Android smartphones running Android 2.1 Eclair and up.

Skype on Tuesday released Skype for Android, a full client for Android 2.1 Eclair devices that offers VoIP calling over Wi-Fi and 3G (though not in the U.S.). The application is a free download from the Android Market.

With it, Android users can make free Skype-to-Skype calls around the globe, low-cost Skype-to-landline/mobile numbers, and send and receive instant messages to Skype contacts.

The application will sync users' native Android contacts with their Skype contacts, allowing for Skype calls to be made directly from the Android address book. This gives users the flexibility to access all their contacts' info from either address book.

Last users, will be able to receive calls to their Skype number. The application works over Wi-Fi networks with ease, and over 3G networks outside the U.S. Why U.S. carriers aren't allowing calls over their 3G networks has not been explained. The Verizon version of Skype actually forces calls to pass through Verizon's voice network, and not its 3G data network.

This was too long in coming.

Verizon Wireless' Android users had an eight-month head start with Skype for Android, leaving millions of other Android users without access to a vital communication tool. That must have been a heck of a deal cut between Skype and Verizon Wireless.

According to Skype, the application has been tested on most Android 2.1 devices and up, and works well on most phones. It notes, however, that problems persist on the Samsung Galaxy S Android devices, and that a fix is in the works.

The app supports a number of languages, including Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Swedish, Polish, Russian, Simplified Chinese & Traditional Chinese.

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