August 02, 2011

Skype Can't Get Long-Awaited iPad App Right the First Time


After much anticipation, Skype’s iPad app was launched briefly yesterday, before being pulled in order to ensure the best possible user experience. It’s now back, apparently with the bugs having been exterminated.

You can’t blame them for pulling it, under the circumstance – but you would also think that, after making us wait this long, the app would have been released bug-free. It’s rather disappointing it wasn’t.

Why was it pulled?

Well, as soon as I noticed it in the App Store last night, I downloaded it and installed. Logging on was easy, and it only took a few moments for all my contacts to be synched. Starting a chat was also easy, with typing is as easy or difficult as your find it on the tablet (you can usually tell the novices from the power users by the amount of erasing they do on Skype).

I didn’t notice anything wrong at first – not until I tried to get from the current chat back to my contacts or another conversation. Try as I may, the only thing I could do was initiate a phone call with the current contact. There was no way to exit a chat and access other features of the app.

Bad news, indeed, as I was suddenly locked into one chat. I see why it was pulled.

That said, while I had it open, I figured I would try out the calling – not bad at all. Sound quality was quite good (no video due to original iPad).

I’ve been waiting for the app, but the anticipation may have exceeded reality in this case. It’s not a new app – it’s been available for phones for a long time. And quite frankly, with the latest generation of phones available, their form factor is large enough to be quite usable, yet small enough to be highly portable. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to have the app – especially now that I’ve re-installed and am able to move between conversations and contacts. I’m just not as excited as I am about newer apps – those that we haven’t all been using on our Androids and iPhones all this time, with the same features or even more, as I can’t seem to find the emoticons on the iPad version. 

That’s not entirely surprising, considering they’re also not part of the iPhone version, but when you’re used to them, as I am, on my HTC Thunderbolt, it’s a glaring deficiency (another point for Android).

All in all, is it cool that Skype finally has an iPad app? Sure. Is it the next great thing in mobile apps? Keep looking.


Erik Linask is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erik Linask



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