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Skype Releases Android Version, But Not What We Expected

New Skype client for Android sounds like a loserSo, Skype has finally listened to smartphone users who have been screaming for a java enabled mobile phone version of their software.

Well, sort of and only if you are using an Android-powered device.

I have spent quite a bit of time over the past couple of years in the Skype forums reading comments from mobile users (and posting a few of my own) regarding the lack of a Skype client for the iPhone. A client for Windows Mobile has been around for a while. So, naturally, seeing as we’re into the second generation of iPhone without a Skype client, Skype’s announcement at CES that Android phones will be getting a client irks me no end.

As the title of this blog implies, I try to be an optimist about things I write about, but as a long-time Skype user, even if I had an Android device I would want a version of the Skype software that could be used over wi-fi like you do on a laptop, NOT a version that will use up mobile minutes and data plan bandwidth like a Hummer chugs down gasoline.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Ever since I got my original iPhone I have hoped for an easy way to use it for VOIP through wi-fi when I’m sitting at Starbucks, a hotel room or even in my den. This won’t do that even for Android users. Just check this out, straight from the press release titled Skype Launches on Android Platform and more than 100 Java-Enabled Mobile Phones:

*Costs for using the lite version of Skype:
You will be charged by your mobile operator for local air time and data usage based on the type of calling service and data plan you have purchased. Since the lite version of Skype uses a mobile data connection to sign in to Skype, update your contact list, update presence and send/receive messages, you will be charged by your mobile operator for data usage. You will not incur charges from Skype when you make Skype-to-Skype calls or send instant messages to friends on Skype; however national calling rates may apply from your mobile operator due to the use of local air time. Skype will charge its regular very low Skype rates when you call landlines and mobiles using Skype or when you receive calls on your mobile handset from other Skype users or people calling your personal online number. We highly recommend getting an unlimited data plan for use with the lite version of Skype. The longer you remain signed in, the more Skype contacts you have, or the more you send and receive instant messages, the more data you will use.

I suppose if you have an unlimited plan, you’re OK, but could we at least have the OPTION of using wi-fi?

I have been a user and supporter of Skype for several years now, but to me, this is a total bummer and for a lot of us defeats the purpose of using Skype, which is FREE phone calls. It’s about as useless as I found the Belkin Wi-Fi Phone for Skype to be for travel purposes (By the way, the Belkin is now sitting in a drawer, unused).

I am so underwhelmed.

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