Slowly, but surely, the Skype client on Android is catching up with the one found on the iPhone in terms of functionality. As of today, Skype for Android now supports video calling on a number of devices, including:
- Google Nexus S,
- HTC Desire S,
- Sony Ericsson Xperia neo,
- Sony Ericcson Xperia pro.
However, there are some startling omissions from the list such as the Samsung Galaxy S and Galaxy S II. It’s not the first time Skype has shunned Samsung devices as the first release of the application failed to login correctly on the original Samsung Galaxy S with Eclair installed (Android 2.1) with a notable delay before a working update was released. It really makes me wonder if Skype has its finger on the pulse when it comes to the top shelf Android smartphones available in the market or if this is some sort of deliberate oversight.
Anyway, there have been some bright sparks who have hacked the app to work on the HTC Thunderbolt and HTC EVO 4G as well as a fellow on XDA Developers who has got video calling to work with the Samsung Galaxy S and S II. The basic instructions are to uninstall Skype on your device then install the APK referenced in the post. You do need to be on Gingerbread (Android 2.3) to enable video calling though.
Admittedly, we might be going through a second phase of video calling being a passing fad. As we know, video calling was possible with the advent of 3G mobile phones years ago. However, video calling went largely unused due to the high cost to consumers and the relatively poor quality due to limited bandwidth at the time. Fast forward to 2010 and Apple was touting the FaceTime feature in the iPhone 4 as a revolutionary feature and has been subsequently mocked over the last year.
All of that said, Skype has been very popular on desktops and laptops so things might be changing.
One thing to bear in mind is that you might run into issues updating Skype later on. Obviously, until an update is released it is hard to say if you will be unable to update but the way around that would be to uninstall the hacked version and download the new version from the Android Market (which should hopefully support the Samsung handsets).