Tablets: Great for business Skype calls

Tablets: Great for business Skype calls

Summary: Tablets can be used for business tasks, and making video calls is not to be overlooked. One tablet with Skype saved the day by averting a near disaster for this writer.

TOPICS: Mobility, Tablets

Tablets are making their way into the workplace as they can be used for many different business tasks. That usually brings to mind creating content, working with documents, and other similar functions. One business task that tablets are particularly appropriate for is making Skype video calls.

Skype screenshot
Skype on the Kindle Fire HDX. Thanks to Jim Bratton for permission to use the screen image. (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

I make video calls in my work all the time, but I confess I rarely use a tablet for them. When I schedule a Skype call, I make sure I am in my home office where I can use a laptop. It just never occurs to me that a tablet would be good for this function. That is no longer the case, given a recent near catastrophe where a tablet stepped in to save the day.

That particular day I worked in my home office all morning, an especially productive time. I had an important Skype call scheduled for 1 PM, so as lunchtime approached I decided to head out to run an errand and get some grub. You're probably guessing this was a bad idea given the upcoming call, and you're absolutely right. Mr Murphy would hit me upside the head with his law book.

Once the errand was completed and lunch was consumed, I set out to head back to the office. I had plenty of time before my scheduled Skype call and was feeling good about things. That lasted until my car wouldn't start and I was stuck in the restaurant parking lot.

With a dead car, I thought about taking a taxi or calling a friend to pick me up. I could not miss this Skype call that was looming, it was incredibly important. Making an excuse to reschedule it was not an option.

As the time for the virtual meeting drew nigh, it hit me that I could use my tablet for the call. I had my Kindle Fire HDX with me, and Amazon preinstalls Skype on them as part of their business offerings. I hadn't used it on the Kindle, but I plugged in my headphones, fired it up, and signed in to Skype. While logging in, I was very glad I got the integrated 4G/LTE option for my Kindle Fire HDX. No worries about connectivity, nor running frantically around looking for wi-fi.

My callers pinged me right on time, and I conducted the video call sitting in the quiet environment of my car. The Kindle Fire HDX was propped on the dashboard, and the 30 minute meeting went off without a hitch.

The high-resolution display of the Kindle Fire HDX was beautiful, as the video was sharp as can be. While the audio of the Kindle would probably have handled the call fine, I'm glad I had my phone headphones with me. The audio was as good as the video, no doubt due to the noise cancellation of the headphones.

At the end of the call, one of the participants asked me if I was in my car. They were all wondering where I was, and couldn't resist the urge to ask me. I confirmed I was indeed in my car, and they told me the call quality was as good as any they conduct. This was a testament to the appropriateness of using a tablet for business Skype calls.

Making such calls is not relegated to the Kindle Fire HDX, just about any tablet on any platform will do them just as well. Skype is available for Android, the iPad, and Windows, so business can be conducted from anywhere on most tablets.

You want to be in a private place when you make business calls using Skype on a tablet, and that's easy to do given the portable nature of the devices. They are good for all sorts of business tasks, and video calls can be a major one.

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Topics: Mobility, Tablets

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  • Skype and headsets

    Be aware that Skype won't use a Bluetooth headset on some tablets.
    The wired headset works fine. I don't use video on other people's conference calls, so a car is an impressively quiet environment.

    On my old phone, it used a headset, but the audio was horrible, so avoiding Bluetooth seems like an improvement.
  • I'll have to try it again

    In the Skype experiments I ran when I first got my tablet, my voice would inevitably come through distorted even though there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the microphone (as determined by recording my voice). But it's been a couple of years.
    John L. Ries
  • Skype on Android Nexus 7

    My Nexus 7 is my work phone. It's a bit big but works well with Skype. It's also great for video calls and I have spoken internationally for up to an hour or so. The great thing is that you can wander around with it, get up and make a cup of tea or show someone something you want them to see easily by turning the Nexus around and pointing at it. The overall performance and image quality is great and the light weight of the Nexus makes this doable without too much muscle strain. Obviously 4G and a 6" Phablet would be even better but a mini-tablet does work very well if you have adequate Wi-Fi.
  • Yeap, I have done this many times!

    I have done Skype video calls on my Galaxy Notes from my car, and by no accident. I am on the road a lot, and have found that I can get to a quiet parking lot and do this sort of calls from my car without problems. I am glad it worked out for you this time!