January 11, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Popular VoIP service Skype can be used on the go thanks to a Java-powered application released recently. Skype Lite, now available in the Android Marketplace, brings Voice over Internet Protocol service and new calling options to Android phones.
For the uninitiated, Skype is a communication service that makes phone calls, sends instant messages, and hosts video conference with others through the internet. Think of those quirky Vonage commercials for a similar understanding of the way things work.
Skype Lite doesn’t have video conferencing capabilities, so you may wonder what good this app can do if you already have calling and IMing capabilities on your mobile phone. Well, the simple answer is you probably don’t need this app, but you may discover that it’s something worth wanting. Skype makes international calls using prepaid credits, which can be more cost-effective than calling cards or expensive international calling plans on landlines. And since Americans are increasingly becoming more dependent on cell phones than landlines, this may be a great alternative to signing up for a monthly plan with your local phone company.
Skype Lite is a stripped-down transition from the desktop service, however it does use Skype credits. Unlike the desktop version, Skype-to-Skype calls are not entirely free. (Be sure to review the Skype price breakdown). A barebones Skype is still useful, and could be employed to help avoid going overboard on your cell phone plan making international calls. Unfortunately, you will be using your plan’s standard minutes in Skype Lite.