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If we needed a poster child for Android’s fragmentations woes, it would most likely be Skype.
The company announced Skype 2.1 for Android today, which will bring video chat capabilities to 17 more Android phones. And if your phone isn’t on the list, video chat might still work.
Skype first brought video chat to four popular Android phones at the end of June — but owners of other Android devices were left out in the cold. With the update, Skype video chat will work on newer Android handsets like the Evo 3D, Revolution, Thunderbolt and Samsung Galaxy S I and Galaxy S II. The feature makes use of both the front and rear facing cameras on Android phones.
Some Android 2.2 phones not on today’s list can still make use of video chat, you’ll just need to turn it on manually in your Skype settings. Skype says only the rear camera of non-approved devices will function during video chat though. And if you don’t see the video chat settings in Skype at all, your phone likely doesn’t meet the minimum requirements to use the feature.
Skype’s slow video chat rollout on Android is indicative of the problems developing for the platform. Android phones differ greatly in processor speed, available cameras, and other hardware, so it’s difficult for Skype to develop a single app that works across all of them. And with Android tablets on the rise, it’s not just phones the company will have to worry about.