Skype has released a new beta of its software for Google's Android operating system, Java-enabled handsets and Intel-based mobile internet devices (MIDs).
The VoIP firm said that the move follows a successful public testing of an earlier beta on a limited number of phones, and builds on feedback from the trial.
The updated beta now makes Skype's software broadly available to millions of mobile users worldwide, including in the US for the first time.
The Lite version lacks the ability to make video calls, but offers all other core Skype features, including contact presence, Skype-to-Skype calls and instant messages, as well as Skype-in and Skype-out. Calls and messages can be made over Wi-Fi or a mobile data connection.
"Making the Skype experience available for download to Android-powered devices, as well as hundreds of other mobile phones from the world's leading manufacturers, is a major step forward for Skype," said chief operating officer Scott Durchslag.
"Nearly half of the world's population are mobile phone users, and we know that many people who already use Skype want the option to use it on their mobile phones. We are committed to getting Skype into the pockets of the mobile masses. "
Although the T-Mobile G1 is the only Android-powered device on the market today, several other devices are due in the coming months, all of which should be able to run the new version of Skype.
Skype Lite is available globally, and the ability to make Skype-to-Skype calls and low cost calls to landlines and mobiles abroad is available in the US, the UK, Poland, Brazil, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Australia and New Zealand.
The company has also been working with Intel to develop a version of Skype for MIDs based on the Intel Atom processor and Moblin-based Linux operating system.
Analyst firm ABI Research predicts that, although MIDs are a relatively new technology, 86 million Linux-enabled MIDs will ship by 2013.
The new Skype 1.0 Beta for MIDs is optimised for kinetic scrolling support on the touch-screen displays, and supports all the usual features including IM, presence, Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls as well as Skype-In and Skype-Out calls to landlines and mobiles.
"By supporting Wi-Fi, WiMax, 3G and 4G, this development expands Skype's mobile portfolio and further illustrates the broad accessibility to Skype that we offer on a multitude of mobile devices," said Durchslag.
Intel and Skype are working with MID manufacturers to have the software preinstalled, offering access to the software right out of the box.
Skype expands to Google Android and Intel MIDs
By Staff Writers on Jan 10, 2009 11:06AM