Skype collaborating with BlackBerry to ensure the app runs well on BlackBerry 10

Skype collaborating with BlackBerry to ensure the app runs well on BlackBerry 10
By Bla1ze on 8 Feb 2013 02:12 pm EST

Yesterday, we were able to confirm that the Skype app coming to BlackBerry 10 would indeed be an Android port initially when it arrives on BlackBerry 10. Understandably, this raised a lot of questions about how well it would work overall and whether or not it play nicely with BlackBerry integration. Earlier today, we received an email from a Skype spokesperson further clarifying the situation and how Skype customers can expect the app to run on BlackBerry 10.

You are correct that the Skype app coming to BlackBerry 10 is our very popular Skype for Android app. We are excited that BlackBerry is enabling Android apps like Skype for Android run great on BB10, and are fully supporting the Android runtime environment and Android tools for BlackBerry 10. This allows us to leverage our existing Skype for Android development efforts to quickly have the latest version of our app (Skype for Android 3.1) ready for BlackBerry 10.

We are closely collaborating with BlackBerry to ensure the app runs well and that BlackBerry 10 users will have a great Skype experience. To that end, we are working closely with BlackBerry to open up some of the integration points available to native apps in the OS so that they can also be used by the Skype application and we expect the app will allow Skype users to see notifications, to start the app from the Hub, and to see their Skype contacts in the native phone book."

It's a reasonable reply I suppose and really it seems as though Skype and BlackBerry are more so working towards a reworked version of their Skype for Android app rather than just a straight up port and leaving it at that. In the end, a lot of folks will just be happy having access to the app provided it works well but personally, I'd just rather see Skype go native. Skype isn't hurting for any development money and creating a native BlackBerry 10 app isn't hard.

Reader comments

Skype collaborating with BlackBerry to ensure the app runs well on BlackBerry 10


Well that's good news! I don't care if the app runs in the android runtime or uses Cascades etc., as long as it provides the required functionality.

I think developers would want that native experience for their apps. They wouldn't want to be dependent on an Android Runtime and the errors that the Runtime emulator may generate in their app.

Over time, many of those Android ports may go native on BB10. Most developers are still on the fence, and an Android port is their testing ground. With a strong launch, the app-hungry BB10 platform should reel them in!

I agree. I'm actually happy that BB even has the runtime on their devices. I think it's much more enticing to be able to port an existing app over than to develop something from scratch. With an Android port, devs can see how popular an app is and guage the necesity for a native app.

The programing language doesn't matter much, but not having this ready for launch is just lazy...

I agree. It doesn't seem like BlackBerry is fighting for their lives to me. Its the same old hurry up and ...wait scenario that's become so familiar with BlackBerry

Your right, they very well may have no control over it. I'm just very unimpressed about many things. I hope they get their act together. I think all the layoffs are starting to show.

it BlackBerry's fault because they made the android runtime 2.3 even when the PB got android runtime 2.3 was old. they should have updated it before launch, then we could blame MS.

Ditto, which no one seems to address. Given the other lacking, lessor, or missing issues with the Z10 from those who have them....this would seem to be important to mention as either yes or no for the PB.

Cascades : quick, easy and beautiful.
I'm assuming these guys are experienced developers...


Not sure why so many people are so dead against Android Applications. BlackBerry made a decision not to support Java leaving all the BlackBerry developers and their apps behind. Not everybody wants to write in Object C or HTML 5, many people just want to program using Java and for many if they can leverage what they already have it is a good investment.

To me Android is just a Java Platform that BlackBerry supports which allows Java developers to write code for Android and BlackBerry. They have tight integration which means as we move forward they will open the platform more to the Android developers (like they are doing with skype). This will allow more and more developers to customize their Android Java Applications to the BB10 platform while leveraging hundreds if not thousands of man hours.

Nothing wrong with that. If there is enough people using it they can eventually go native but at this point when it comes to Skype it seem a win win for everyone and time will tell.

Let it come and if what they mention is true with all the integration points it means this port will benefit us all by having BlackBerry open up more of the BB 10 platform to the Android community allowing the Java developers access which they did not have before.

I never used a smartphone other than a BlackBerry and will never use any other so i welcome Java Developers if they customize their work to the BB 10 platform.

I think its a good thing that android devs are even considering it. A short term look at the platform especially those who are on limited budgets. Those on bigger budgets will need to be convinced that this is a viable platform and worth building a native app for.
So its great that BBRY can leverage this by using the android runtime (tho a little old). Hopefully there's continue advancement but how long is BBRY looking to keep updating the runtime? Surely there comes a point where devs will need to look to native to keep their updates viable for their users?

If it was so easy, BBRY would have the latest 4.X already irrespective of what code is eventually released since testing would take up a majority of time.

Having said that it does open up a pandoras box because BBRY may get similar demands from popular apps wanting the 'quick route' -Giving concessions to skype to allow integration points. Hopefully allowing these concessions is actually BBRY getting reassurance that a native app in place will be in place otherwise, we may find some problems down the road.

Exactly so if so easy to create native apps, why aren't these big names doing it? I figure Skype could knock this off in less than a week? I'm being generous here, can developers weigh in and correct me if wrong?

Are manufacturer politics playing a role here?

If it is done by one amateur developer, you can expect it at anytime. But a serious professional team implements the whole development cycle and can take quite longer than just porting it. A software with the name Microsoft on it cannot be given away half baked. It is the name of the company that is at stake. Microsoft has standards on which it cannot risky to just do a quick native app

I wouldn't assume that ".... creating a native BlackBerry 10 app isn't hard." Based on the link that Bla1ze used to support this assertion: 1) I don't see any "big name" apps in the link and 2) I just don't see where the developers have much to say about developing for BB10. I'm not saying that it is difficult or expensive, I don't know, all I'm saying is that even after reading Bla1ze's link, I still don't know!

I am just as lost, I see small no-name developers create amazing looking and functioning apps and big names create absolute crap. I've just installed the Evernote-Android version on my PB and I will be deleting the PB version shortly.

I just don't want all my contacts sent over to Skype or Facebook for that matter! These apps should not be able to download my contacts from my phone!

On current mobile Skype products (iOS, Android) you can access your native contacts for making SkypeOut calls but they are not incorporated into Skype contacts. This feature came in very handy for me last week using an iPhone to call someone in Canada from Costa Rica.

In fact incorporating other Contacts, such as Facebook, are a user option.

Jim Courtney
Editor and Publisher
Voice On The Web

Thanks for following up Bla1ze, this makes me feel a little better any ways. I'm hoping that if it is a success, they will decide to make a native app.

That's a good start for sure. I know people are slightly miffed by the whole "android port" aspect of it, but let's face it, there are a lot more people on the rival os's than on BB. If BB makes the comeback we all hope they will, I bet we will see a native app eventually

What I want to know is that this android port from 3.1 means that a new version of android player is coming as well...

As long as it works flawlessly and supports video calls on BB10... Skype on some Android phones can't even manage that.

I don't know the whole technical aspects of app development, but if Skype is putting so much work if making changes to the android version for BB10, why not build it from scratch from the ground up? It just seems to me that they're doing half the work, when you can just do a little more for it to be native.

It's probably more like Skype telling BB to add certain functionalities to the Android implementation to enable features without much work on Skype's part...

i have no issues with an android port which will be optimized for use on bb 10, but i would really love to see a native Skype app with some of TAT UI implemented in there , back in 2011 it was showed off on the PB , would be real sweet to see these implemented not only in skype but other apps, wishing that we get a netflix app soon even if it is ported.

Not sure why they don't just make a Skype app for BlackBerry? They have access to the best communication device but seem to talk around the issue. They had so much time like other app makers to have something ready to roll on launch date. So what's the deal Skype?

so i guess that the app player will be updated for android 4.0 sooner than we thought? because its 2.3 right now and they said theyre going to port over a 3.x app

Here is the million dollar question. If they are going through all of that effort to perfect an android application, why wouldn't they just make it native?

BlackBerry is just not prepared for sad! they could've done this months ago with every crossplatform popular app...dang!

I just don't hope opening up BBOS more for Skype is leading to angry / more devs who want that for their Android app. Which in turn will lead to almost only Android ports in the appworld. And that doesn't help BBRY to get standing on their own feet!

I hope there is a clause into all this that: e.g. Ok we open up BBOS for you now, but once you hit 1.000.000 downloads we will cut off support and you promise us now and here that you will make it 100% native.

I just get a bad feeling about this in the back of my mind :(
Maybe I'm just becoming to much of a BB FAN!
I just want them to succeed, damn it, with their own stuff!

I just think Skype is being conservative. They can easily port the android version then take a wait-and-see about BlackBerry's future success. And what do you bet that BB is actually doing the heavy lifting on the port just to please us by getting that app? I agreee with bigopti that there sure should be some agreement.

This should most likely be good news. RIM could have chosen not to have skype ported betting only on BBM and such. While they seem immidiate competitors M$ doesn't seem to care too much for their own mobile operating system WP8 - They only got a preview release of skype for their own phones.

It attracts attention to the fact, that android apps can be ported to BB, Windows phone has a lot of their own apps with fancy graphics and all that but often none officiel and many beta - for instance ATP/'WTA to give just one example available for both IOS Android Blackberry.

Despite having funded and developed things M$ seems far more interested in software-development and cross platform experiments than hardware and total mobile experience - sure thing they like to make money selling apps, But I don't see blackberry as a threat to them and thus M$ probably doesn't pose a treat to BB.

There are nummerous examples of M$ having failed / droppped project silverlight is a more reasont care. I don't know if M$ cares deeply for WP 8 as such but it doesn't look like it - more things point to that they don't - and that it's just another development platform for proprietary software. M$ have also placed themself as far away from BB as possible with their very shiny models that doesn't screem business.

Only thing that troubles me a bit is what kind of software they can port even with best intensions, when they can't even make a desktop OS with decent search facilities (sic)

Just Found out that ATP/WTA is avaliable for Blackberry 10 as of feb 08

I think you made a great point early on here... and that's how it attracts attention to the ability to port Android apps.

Although it's been repeated and well known among BB users, especially Playbook owners, a lot of people in the general public don't know that. By having a big-name app like Skype ported over and succeed (big IF), I think that will be a big positive for BB10.

It boils down to this:
"Skype isn't hurting for any development money and creating a native BlackBerry 10 app isn't hard."
They are being lazy.
For BlackBerry's sake, it better work right . It won't hurt Skype any if it doesn't.

Microsoft can't even get Skype right for the lunch of their own platform (WP8). How R U expecting them to be ready and native right away for BB10.

They could have started from the Desktop Linux port which is written in Qt and go native, but oh, well...

Finally some hope for Skype on Blackberry devices! The only downside to this is that being that the only phone with front facing cameras are the Z10 & Q10... So its gonna take a while before these phones get circulated around the world and Skyping gets popular & second nature on Blackberries

It's not just about developing an have to support it as well...
It's obviously not worth investing from skypes perspective
Which is why I'm still on the fence.
And with no bb10 coming to my launchday playbook..I can understand skypes view..

So RIM now BlackBerry spend what 2 years creating this great ecosystem to make it super easy to develop on BB10. They add in Android compatibility for devs not looking to natively code for BB.

So Skype is basically just packing up their APK turning it into a BAR and calling it a day?

What do you have to do to port this Android app to BB10 to make it run great with BB10? Why not just create a BB10 App?

This really seems like Posturing, I am expecting Skype to have the Android bar at the bottom.