Skype 2.0 for Android adds video calling, but just for four phones

By on June 30, 2011, 12:00 PM

Skype today announced version 2.0 of its Android app. Skype 2.0 for Android adds Skype Video Calling to Google's mobile operating system. You can download Skype 2.0.0.45 now from the Android Market.

The new version lets you make and receive free 1-to-1 video calls over Skype between your Android phone and other Skype contacts on the iPhone, Mac, Windows PCs, and TVs. Skype for Android with video works over Wi-Fi or 3G data connections. The first phase of the video calling launch is, however, limited to just four handsets: the HTC Desire S, the Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro, and the Google Nexus S.

While the video calling feature is limited to four devices, the rest of the improvements in version 2.0 are not. In addition to video calls, users can also make calls to landlines and mobiles around the world, as well as send SMSes to friends and family anywhere in the world at Skype's rates.

The Skype for Android user interface has been redesigned. There's a new main menu that lets you navigate easily through contacts, access your Skype profile to change personal details, and see your Skype Credit balance. A new mood message box at the top of the Skype app menu lets you share your status.

"We are committed to bring Skype Video Calling to as many platforms as possible and are delighted to deliver on this with our new updated Skype for Android app," Neil Stevens, Skype's vice president and general manager for product and marketing, said in a statement. "With approximately 30 million concurrent users logging into Skype at any given time4 and making up to half a million simultaneous video calls5, Skype for Android with video makes it even easier for users to share moments with their contacts wherever they are."

As I've already reported when the Netflix app for Android was released, Google needs to improve the media capabilities of its mobile operating system to make developers' lives easier. As Android matures, users will hopefully one day not have to check if their device can use a certain app, or one of the app's features. I understand if your device is old and has hardware limitations, but Google needs to eliminate software limitations.

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