In our review of BlackBerry OS 10.1 we showed off the Skype icon in the homescreen. This led to quite a few questions that I can now answer. 🙂 Skype is going to come preloaded on the BlackBerry Q10 and allows for both video and audio calls. The Skype app requires BlackBerry OS 10.1 so it will only be coming to the BlackBerry Z10 a few weeks (~2-3) after the BlackBerry Q10 launch. For now the Skype app is actually an Android port but it does run very nicely on the BlackBerry Q10. There are only a few places where you have to use the back swipe or menu bar swipe to get around. On the other hand it does tie in nicely with the notification system and alerts you of incoming calls in the background.
I had a chance to do a video call with Ricky to his Windows 8 PC up in Canada and the call went beautifully over LTE. We did notice that at one point the audio quality dropped when Skype decided our connection was not optimal and lowered the bitrate. Ricky reported that the video quality was HD sharp though the audio did get choppy at times. It even allowed for movement with minimal artifacts (slight blurring if you moved too fast)
I was surprised by how fast the Skype app runs which may be in part to an improved Android runtime. Either way its nice to see. Sadly Skype does not tie into your contacts for you to call them over Skype but it does allow you to upload your contacts to see who has Skype and add them to your Skype roster.
When I minimized the app things started going wonky according to Ricky but the call did not drop. It just lowered in quality and was not really usable. I guess that means you should have it running when making video calls. Chatting on the call worked nicely.
You can also switch the camera to the back facing view for people to see what is in front of you. My major complaint was that the Skype voice calls did not allow you to pipe the audio through the earpiece and did not turn off the screen with the proximity sensor so I was not able to hold it to my head. Hopefully they fix that!
You can access your contacts and dial out if you have Skype credits
Overall I was impressed by how well this Android port worked on BlackBerry 10. Its not 100% but it does function and work quite well. Hopefully Skype will see the large user base on BlackBerry 10 and make their own native app. Let us know if you have any specific questions!
And some more screenshots… 🙂