Skype has today announced the immediate availability of Skype for Android phones. The app requires version 2.1 of the OS however, which means owners of older devices than have not been updated by their manufacturer miss out.
Unlike the initial launch of Skype on the iPhone, the Android version will work over 3G, EDGE and even GPRS connection as well as Wi-Fi – at least in Europe. In the US, it is Wi-Fi only. It would seem that US carriers are fussier than their European counterparts.
As ever, Skype-to-Skype calls are free, or you can call direct to landlines or mobile phones. You can also send instant chat messages. After you synchronised your contacts between Skype and Android’s native address book, you’ll be able to launch a Skype call directly from the address book app.
As far as mobile platforms, Skype is already available on iOS, Symbian and on the Nokia N900, which runs Maemo 5, so the addition of a native app for Android fills in a rather glaring hole, and extends the appeal of Android even further – as long as you have Android 2.1.
Window Phone 7, due to launch next week, will be noted for the absence of Skype, all the more galling considering the older versions of Windows Mobile were trailblazers for the mobile version.
In related news Skype has named Tony Bates, formerly a big-wig at Cisco, as its new chief executive. Bates replaces Joshua Silverman who was CEO since early 2008. The move comes ahead of a $1billion expected flotation of Skype, and bringing Skype to Android sure to further bolster its IPO when it happens.