By >Akihabara News Team
Skype, KDDI to Pull Same Sh*t As Skype, Verizon
While us iPhone users worldwide were using Skype – first on wifi, then on 3G – with little to no problems aside from the usual problems that crop up from the code obfuscations they place in all of their software, Skype previously only made its Android app available to users of Android phones on Verizon in the US – not only limiting the country Android users had to be in to use Skype on their phones, but even their carrier, like a sort of reverse SIM-locking; not to mention the 3G-only limitation the app had.
Well, Skype finally opened up its app for consumption on other networks in other countries last month, with a glaring caveat: “Skype for Android is not available in China and Japan at this moment.” Media outlets in Japan assumed this was the Super-Secret Awesome App mentioned in passing by KDDI’s Tanaka Takashi at a press event for the IS03 Android smartphone, and they were right: on the 18th of October, Skype and KDDI announced that Skype will become available on au’s Android handsets soon, under the banner “Skype au”. I wrote (and people commented) that this would prove to be quite an incentive for people on the fence to finally make the switch to an Android phone, and I waited eagerly for the announcement that Android users on SoftBank and NTT Docomo – the HTC Desire and Sony Ericsson’s xPeria, for example – will also get the Skype Android app on their phones.
I’m still waiting.
It seems that along with opening up Skype to non-Verizon and non-US users of Android phones, Skype and au have simply pulled a Verizon in Japan instead.
Although I don’t have the numbers to back up this claim, I do believe that au’s cons (feh service, brand image, slow uptake on new handset technologies, inability to interoperate SIM-unlocked phones with other domestic carriers) will still be too great a turnoff when compared to the privilege of being able to use Skype on an Android handset. What’s left for us is to let KDDI know that making an exclusivity agreement with Skype over the backs of current and prospective Android users on Japan’s other carriers was a pretty dick move.
I know I’m quite late to this party, but what the hey. Here’s my two cents.