Seems to be the fad. Recently PamFax for Android was updated to support tablet-size screens. Today Skype released Skype 3.0 for Android with several new features:
- Login via Microsoft Account
- IM with Windows Live Messenger contacts
- Superwideband SILK audio codec support
- Call auto-answer option
- and the most visible: New user interface for Android tablets.
I installed Skype 3.0 for Android on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 running Jelly Bean (Android 4.0.4) and found the interface to look very similar to Skype for iPad with account information and recent activity listed on the left and conversations or Contact directories viewed on the right.
Since I use my “test” Skype account on this device I logged in via my SkypeID for this account which will be used for most of the examples in this post.
If you log in via your Microsoft Account you will have access to your Windows Live Messenger and Outlook.com contacts. As a test I did log in via my Microsoft Account and could see my Skype, Messenger and Address Book contacts. The Contacts brought over my “Lists” from my Skype account, including Favorites and Online. However, I could not find a “List” for my Messenger contacts only. It also brought in all my account’s messaging conversations for at least the previous couple of weeks.
Going back to my “test” account I then placed a video call to my website designer. While the video takes over the conversation side of the screen you can also go full size on the screen.
The Call Management bar allows you to switch between the rear and front cameras, mute the mic, share files and follow a chat session as well as end the call. Audio quality was excellent, as expected from a call supported by the SILK codec. One more bonus feature: it supports hosting group chat.
There is a Settings screen that includes options to auto-answer calls, set privacy levels, and display call technical information, amongst others. By placing a call to a Windows PC I found that the tablet’s webcam was sending 320 x 240 images at up to 15 fps using the H.264 video codec; the PC, using the Logitech C920 webcam, was sending 640 x 480 images at up to 15 fps.. What is interesting here is that the 320 x 240 images being received did not compromise the image quality at the PC end. But that’s a subject for a separate post.
I did encounter a few of the known issues mentioned in the Skype Garage blog post linked above. For instance when I went to another application and returned to Skype I could only see my own video and not the other party’s; yet the call was still audio-active. And the tablet UI currently only supports landscape mode.
One other point to note: whereas previous versions of Skype for Android supported a limited number of devices, it now supports all Android devices – all 1400 of them, regardless of screen size!
Bottom line: Skype for Android now has full support for tablet-size Android devices, bringing the Skype for Android user interface to one that is feature-equivalent to Skype for iPad. In fact, Skype for Android supports full file transfer (not just photos), launching and hosting a group chat and provides more user control over Settings, including display of call technical information.
- Skype Acquires Microsoft: Windows Live Messenger Migrates to Skype(voiceontheweb.biz)
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