Using Skype on Android

Installing and Using Skype for Android Phones and Tablets

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Skype is the most widely used VoIP application and apart from allowing free and cheap communication, it gives a number of features that favor fluid communication and collaboration. Android on the other side has rapidly become the favorite system for mobile phone and tablet users. So if you hold an Android device, there is a huge chance that you will want to install Skype on it. Here is what you want to know.

Why Use Skype on Android?

Mostly for the same reasons for which more than half a billion people have registered for it. Then, what’s more interesting with Android is that it gives you Skype functionality everywhere you are. What does Skype offer? First, you get to make and receive voice and video calls on your Android device. The video quality is unprecedented, provided you have what it takes (read below for that). You can also share multimedia files (video, pictures, documents etc.) with your Skype buddies, making it a nice collaboration tool. In a more basic level, you can chat and use the tool as an instant messenger (IM) on your mobile phone or tablet.

Skype also allows you to get an additional number to which people can call you. You also have free voicemail, and your Skype contacts are synchronized with your phone’s contacts.

Why Not Skype?

I have installed Skype on my Android phone and am using it, but I don’t think it is the best VoIP service out there for Android. Many people do that because there is one big reason for using Skype on Android, and that’s what has been driving people to installing Skype whether they like it or not. It’s that most people are on Skype and you have better chances of getting people to communicate on Skype than on any other VoIP service. Since communication, whether voice or video, within the network – meaning Skype-to-Skype calls – are free, you can finally communicate for free with more people around the world with Skype.

On the other hand, Skype does not offer the best VoIP rates on the market, although its rates are cheap compared to those of traditional PSTN or GSM calls. Also, the installation file is quite bulky with 12 MB. At the time I am writing this, around 6 percent of users have given a 1 star rating for it, and its overall rating is 3.7 over 5 on the Android Market rating system.

Recently, Skype has been supplanted by more mobile applications like WhatsApp which have capitalized on the shift of communication towards mobile devices. Skype has been quite late to that party, we must say. 

What You Need For Skype on Android

If you are already using other instant messaging and communication tools on your smartphone, Skype should be OK, but there are cases where people cannot install and use Skype even then. So make you sure you have these: 

  • A compatible smartphone, with the minimum hardware specifications and a recent version of your operating system. In fact, the latest versions of Skype won't work on, say, Froyo. 
  • Sufficient internal memory. Many people cannot install Skype because of lacking memory. 
  • Sufficient bandwidth. Skype offers HD calls and this eats up data on your Internet connection. It works best on WiFi
  • Install the Skype app and register. 

Download and Installation

To install Skype on your Android device (phone or tablet), use your device’s browser to go to Skype’s product page on the Android Market. If you don’t know where that is, use the search tool. Look for the ‘INSTALL’ button and click on it. The application will download and install automatically on your Android machine, like most other Android apps. The settings are pretty much auto-configured, such that when you launch the app for the first time, you only need to log in with your Skype credentials and you are good to communicate.

Using Skype on Android

Since you’ve come to this page looking to install Skype on Android, you most probably already have used Skype elsewhere, so you know how to use the app. Besides, the interface is like always, very user-friendly. But you might want to have a glimpse of what’s different with Skype on Android.

When you make a call to Dick, Tom or Harry on your phone (not on Skype), an option pops up asking whether you want to make a call with the generic dialer or with Skype. This is the result of the integration with the phone’s contact list. You can decide on a default action.

The main Skype interface has 4 main icons for a dialer, a history icon (recent), contacts and your profile. The settings you can tweak on the phone are the following: contact synchronization, go offline, sign in options, notification settings, status, call management, file sending, and IM management.