Skype for Windows Phone is basically useless

Skype for Windows Phone is basically useless

Summary: You cannot accept any incoming calls unless the Skype app is open and active on your phone, unlike the way Skype works on all other mobile platforms.


As Mary Jo wrote yesterday, Skype for Windows Phone moved from the beta version to a 1.0 release. While it is good to see the application moving forward, there is at least one major limitation that makes the app almost useless on a mobile phone.

Skype 1.0 for Windows Phone lets you make Skype video and voice calls over 3G and WiFi, seach for and add contacts, and make calls to landlines. However, no one can call you via Skype unless you have the app open and running on your phone. Unlike Android and iOS, Skype needs to be your active app in order to receive calls as there is no background functionality at all in the app. Tango video calling service supports running in the background so if video calling is important to you then try that service out.

Limitations like this in apps are one reason I am primarily back to using my Samsung Galaxy Nexus with my T-Mobile SIM. I am having a great time with Android at the moment on a number of devices (Samsung Galaxy Nexus, HTC One X, and HTC Flyer) and could see myself going just with Android as my personal mobile platform.

Even though Microsoft now owns Skype, Mary Jo pointed out that the plan for Windows Phone 8 is to still have Skype as a stand alone application. Microsoft has the potential to do great things with Windows Phone, but there is still a LOT of work to do.

Topics: Windows, Collaboration, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Telcos, Social Enterprise

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  • Useless, yes..

    .. but I guess they'll add push notifications support soon. Thought that isn't too good either. Instant messaging apps on WP7 need to reconnect every time you go back to them, even though they provide push notifications, which is kind of a waste of time and bandwidth. Exactly why I love Android, no such limitations, on the Nexus or a cheap $200 Android phone.

    P.S: I like WP7 too, so please don't start pointing out good/bad points of Android/WP7. I know them all too well..
    • I remember

      I think i remember reading a MS employee saying that they werent going to bake skype into the OS because of potential anti-competative malarky
      • Don't bake it in..

        ... but at least provide the option of running in the background which is available on other 3rd party apps as well.. :P
      • Ugh!

        I think they should bake it in regardless. Plenty of good arguments now Apple and Google are playing dirty as well. Look at YouTube, WP7 is still unable to have a decent application because Google refuses to provide the full API to make it work. Apple FaceTime? Same thing...
      • jack, hate much?

        "Apple and Google are playing dirty as well. Look at YouTube, WP7 is still unable to have a decent application because Google refuses to provide the full API to make it work. Apple FaceTime? Same thing... " So Apple and Google should be forced to make these apps for a competitor. Maybe these apps could use some of the hidden WP 7 APIs that Microsoft uses exclusively. You wonder why Microsoft branded software works better on Windows 54% of the time? Because Microsoft has access to all of the APIs, while the competition doesn't. Hint: the APIs you speak of are in the OS, not the software. This would mean your gripe it with Microsoft, and you sound like a bitter fanboy
        Jumpin Jack Flash
  • I wish they'd fix that

    perhaps with Windows 8, it will be better? I really wish that WP7 was more of a success, but it is things like this that make me shake my head.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • Me too..

      I loved WP7's UI and interface and smoothness and speed. But at the end of the day, too many limitations to make me stick to it. Really hoping WP8 fixes this stuff..
      • I had a WP7 device for a while

        I like the OS, it's a shame that you can't really make calls with the Titan.
        Michael Alan Goff
    • WP 7 is a stop gap

      Just a place holder for WP 8. Microsoft hopes to inflate the interest level to a point they can start dictating to the ISVs, as well as the OEMs. WP 8 is supposed to be the end all be all mobile OS. It will have 60% of the phone (and consumer tablet )market by the end of 2013...
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Nice sarcasm

        I do think you have a bit of something right there, though. But the same problem is with Android, though in a different way. "Just wait for 3.1" "Just wait for 3.2" "Just wait for ICS" "Just wait for Jelly Bean".
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Michael Alan Gof

        "I do think you have a bit of something right there, though." yes software is never something set in stone. It's more like buying a house, you find the closest match then upgrade the parts to better suit your needs. I recently replaced the door locks, because the other ones are over 15 years old, Last year I replaced the kitchen cabinets, because we realized the one that were there didn't have enough room. I learned how to make a decent counter top using Granite tiles. Like a house, software is something that constantly changes, or evolves. The key is to like what you have, so it's not a horrid chore keeping it up.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • @Jumpin Jack Flash

        Actually, I was referring to the fact that any perceived downside for either WP7 or Android is answered with "wait for the next version". For WP7, it is a few features that people want, and for Android it is the performance issues that some users complain about.

        But it is important to be happy with what you have now, not with what you might get down the road.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Michael Alan Goff

        You really need t stop using logic and trying to turn everything into a rational discussion, you may find yourself banned :p
        I appreciate logical and rational discussions, but finding one on here is like finding a needle in a proverbial hay field
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • I'm afraid I can't do that

        Anything less than an attempt at rational discussion would be a waste of time for myself and everyone reading it. :P
        Michael Alan Goff
      • That's absurd, hope you're joking.

        Do you realize how many units carriers would need to sell in a single year to jump from 5% to 60% of the smartphone market?

        Windows Phone would need to sell in the high Tens of Millions, each quarter, starting now.

        Let's try to stay within the realm of reality.
  • Skypre for Windows 7 is basically useless too

    Spends more time crashing than anything I've ever seen before. Pretty sad for a Microsoft owned app.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • I have seen a few issues with it on Win7 but on XP as well

      but these all started occurring before MS bought Skype. Skype went from working great all the time to strange behaviour related issues with audio and video. There could be more factors at play but basically after an update about a year ago, I was seeing issues on both Win XP and then Win7 in our office.
      • Still hoping

        for a complete re-write in the future. I like Skype, and I like what it does, but I think Microsoft needs to work with them on their coding.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Not true

      you statement is invalid
      • I'm a pretty heavy Windows user...

        ... If there's a problem with an app, I'll know about it. I think it's nonsense to continue offering customers buggy code.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion