Skype updates Android app, adds support for popular tablets

Skype's new app doesn't support portrait mode on Android tablets

Although Google and Microsoft don't exactly get along, that hasn't stopped Skype from updating its Android app with tablet support and improved audio quality.

Skype for Android 3.0 now supports the "most popular" Android tablets, including Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2, Google's Nexus 7, Acer's Iconia Tab, Asus' Transformer Prime, Sony's Tablet S and Motorola's Xoom.

The app makes use of the extra screen space by showing navigation tabs and recent communications on the left side of the screen, and thumbnail images of contacts on the right side. A set of menu buttons sit in the top-right corner, including the dialer, search and settings. During video chat, users can keep the left navigation panel in view, or switch to full-screen mode.

The only big drawback is that Skype's new app doesn't support portrait mode on Android tablets. This is especially problematic on the Nexus 7, whose camera is on the side bezel when held in landscape, so users will have to be careful not to block the lens.

Skype's Android app also has improved audio quality, making use of the company's SILK wideband audio codec. In a blog post, Skype says SILK tries to cope with the varying connection speeds and provide the best voice quality possible. The company has posted a short YouTube video to demonstrate the difference.

But not all's perfect with the new app. As ZDNet points out, users reviewing the new app have complained of video glitches, crashes and dropped calls. Some Nexus 7 users are also saying they prefer the old app, which has portrait support, over the new app.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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