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skype chatSkype is an instant messaging, voice, and video calling client available for various platforms, including Google Android. The Android app has gone through several updates over the past year, which introduced additional features, such as sending files and video calling. For this article I reviewed Skype version 2.6.0.95 on a tablet running Android Honeycomb 3.1.

Start Screen

The initial start screen is clean and simple. You can access your contacts, recent conversations, you can call phones, and view or edit your own profile. Via the top right corner you can sign out or change your online status (green). Via the options button (red) you can launch the menu, which includes access to your Skype settings (blue). Note that the option menu changes, depending on what part of Skype you are viewing.

skype chat

The screenshot below highlights the different status options.

skype video chat

Personal Profile

Your personal profile provides an account overview, including Skype credit and status of your Skype number and call forwarding. When you switch to the profile tab, you can change your personal profile information.

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skype video chat

Contacts

Per default, contacts will show your online friends. Clicking the respective button in the top left (red), you can switch to viewing all contacts, only Skype contacts, number, favorites, or blocked contacts. The options menu allows you to add contacts, save a number, search your address book, or sort your contacts by name.

skype video chat

Below is an overview of your contact display options.

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When clicking on a friend, you will see a list of possible actions, including voice call, video call, send IM, send file, or SMS. You can also view their profile. Via the options menu you can rename the respective contact, add them to your favorites, block, or remove them.

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When you open an IM conversation (click Send IM), you will see the most recent messages. You can make Skype load more messages from the history by dragging the conversation to the bottom. When clicking the chat icon in the bottom left (red), you can select whether to send your message through IM or SMS. Note that charges for text messages apply.

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You can manage a conversation via the options menu, for example call the contact, add others to the conversation, send a file, or close the chat.

skype android manage conversation

Sending Files

This is the most recently added feature for the Skype Android app. As of version 2.6 Skype 2.6 Comes To Android, Adds File Sharing [News] Skype 2.6 Comes To Android, Adds File Sharing [News] Are you worried that the 26 different apps that show up when you want to “share” something with your Android device weren’t quite enough? Skype has you covered. They have just released Skype 2.6 for... Read More , you can send files to your contacts. When you click the respective options buttons, a menu will launch from which you can select a source, typically including the gallery, as well as document and file managers installed on your system. Unfortunately, this does not include your Dropbox account, meaning you have to download any files you want to share via Skype.

skype android app send file

Video Calling

As of version 2.5 Skype For Android 2.1+ Now With Video Calls [News] Skype For Android 2.1+ Now With Video Calls [News] Skype has just released a major update for Android users, with the Android application now supporting video calls. It's a big step which now puts the Android application functionality on a par with the iPhone... Read More , Skype for Android features video calling, although not on all devices. Unfortunately, the Android Market no longer contains a full list of supported devices. If you run Android 2.2+ on a supported device, however, you can enable video calling and control further details in the settings menu.

skype android app settings

I recently wrote a detailed article on how to enable and use the Skype video calling feature: How To Make Skype Video Calls On Your Android Honeycomb Tablet How To Make Skype Video Calls On Your Android Honeycomb Tablet How To Make Skype Video Calls On Your Android Honeycomb Tablet Skype, the popular application for voice and video calls, supports a range of mobile operating systems, including Android. Unfortunately, the list of supported devices for video calls is limited. This has been a major source... Read More . Briefly, video calls must be enabled via the settings menu, video can then be turned on or off during a call, and on Skype 2.3+ you can switch back and forth between front and rear camera.

skype android app video calling

Calling Phones

Just like its desktop counterpart, you can use the Skype Android app to call phones or send text messages. Personally, I find this feature much more convenient using the mobile app. The book icon with the # sign in the top right corner is your phone book. You can manually add contacts with the options menu, which is shown at the bottom in the screenshot below.

skype chat

Conclusion

This was Skype for Android in a nutshell. Basically, it offers all essential functions also available in the desktop application, with clean and simple menus as a bonus. Overall, it may actually be a little easier to use, since the touch navigation forced developers to make the app a lot more intuitive. And by the way, you can have Skype delivered directly to your mobile phone via SMS from the Skype website.

How do you like the mobile edition of Skype and does it look much different on an Android phone? What features from the desktop app do you miss or what other features would you like to see? Please share in the comments!

  1. Swamykant
    January 4, 2012 at 5:20 am

    Great. Thanks for all sharing the information.

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