Skype for Windows Phone can't run on Tango devices and Skype responds

Yesterday, Skype and Microsoft took Skype for Windows Phone out of beta and gave it the v1.0 designation, adding new functionality along with a more reliable connection.

Windows Phone Daily noticed that Skype app needs 512MB of RAM, which is fine for current handsets on the market but rules out so-called Tango phones like the Lumia 610 and ZTE Orbit which only have 256MB of RAM. So the question naturally comes up: What's the deal?

A Skype spokesperson got back to us on the matter and while it confirms the limitation, it appears that it is something that they are well aware of and are looking to address with future updates:

“As outlined in our Skype Garage blog, we are aware of various issues on the Skype for Windows Phone app, including minimum memory support requirement. This is our first version of the Skype for Windows Phone app. To ensure our customers have the best Skype experience possible today, the Skype for Windows Phone app currently requires devices with Windows Phone 7.5 and higher 512 MB of memory. We’re invest (sic) in improving the Skype for Windows Phone app to deliver a great experience and plan to resolve issues and build new features on an ongoing basis.”

If we were to read between the lines, we would have guess that Microsoft and Skype were pressed to get this app to the Marketplace and working with what they got on the backend (which we hear ain't pretty), hence the limitations. But it does sound like the Skype team is working hard on bringing updates to the Windows Phone app and we can hope that optimization of the code will allow a more streamlined experience for the Tango phones in the future.

Seeing as Tango phones are just getting ready to launch and the bulk of Windows Phones can run Skype mobile now, we're not too concerned. But it will be interesting to see how this goes forward in the future.

On another note, we'll have more this week on Skype and why background calls and notifications are actually a tricky thing to implement on Windows Phone. It should be an interesting read as our own Rafael Rivera will be doing the explaining. Stay tuned.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • BG calls and notifications cant be that hard if the Tango devs can do it, right?
  • Not that easy. Skype's background architecture is very different than Tango's. In short, I think the WP team is doing what they can with what they have. I also bet MS is looking to change how Skype operates but obviously such a massive change has to be handled delicately. Rafael will likely explain this much more detail but even he's giving Skype some slack here, which is a big change for him :-P
  • Depends entirely on the app architecture and whatever madness the project managers decided upon.
  • I'm pretty sure Microsoft now owns Skype, so it's probably better to just state "Microsoft's Skype division..." rather than "Skype and Microsoft...". That just makes it sound like Skype is a separate company from Microsoft. Also, it was reasonable to assume that they were gonna keep updating Skype for Windows Phone since this is just version 1.0
  • Just because they are owned by MS doesn't mean they are immediately fully controlled by them, I may be wrong but I remember MS saying they were keeping Skype operating separately, like Google did with Motorola Mobile.
  • No, they are keeping them as a separate division within Microsoft.
    Tango Video Calls (tangome) has had video calls over 3G for months AND has simple toast notifications to be "called" when you are doign other things or the phone is in your pocket.
    For a company that PROFITED $23B last year they need to stop acting like mom/pop stores
  • The service has 663 million registered users. MS has to be very careful with any changes on the backend needed to make the front more useful.
  • Absolutely, but careful doesn't have to mean glacial. Whatever the reasons, it's hard to argue against the fact that the end result is an embarrassment for Microsoft. Only the fans will give them slack. Potential customers will simply look elsewhere if this is important to them.
  • If tango app can run in the background. So can skype!!!
  • That's really not true.  You're assuming a lot here, namely that VOIP is implemented the same way on both services. It's not. No offense, but if you're not a software engineer stating things so nonchalantly is a bit naive. Lets recognize our own limitations of knowledge and not claim things we have no idea about ;-)
  • One thing for sure, it beats the hell out of Face Time.
  • Yes but Skype on iOS beats the hell out of this.
  • Yes, i know it is an assumption, but still if Tango can do it, skype can!!
  • Zing! Right above your head!
  • My HTC Surround has only 448mb of Ram but can run Skype, though that is pretty darn close to the 'required' 512
  • False. Your device is a 512MB phone. You're talking about what is available after the OS loads. Do you think a 256MB device has all 256MB of RAM available? Your phone stil lhas twice as much RAM as a Tango phone.
  • Oh, ok, thanks I didn't know that. Gsmarena has the Surround as 448mb so that's where the confusion came from. WP definitely manages RAM well then. Alright, thanks for the correction :)
  • If they are going to make everything available for 256mb devices like some ppl are demanding (?), why do we need 512mb? Might as well make all Windows Phones 256mb.
  • Budget smartphones shouldn't be expected to run memory intensive apps tight out of the gate without any tweaking by the developers. I'm not knocking those with tango phones or who plan on getting these phones. I'm just being realistic.
  • Lots of people here are obviously ignorant about software development. You have to take into consideration the existing Skype backend, which might be a total clusterfudge of code band-aids. The fact that Tango can do something in particular is totally meaningless in this context.
  • How about the fact that Android, iOS, and even WM can do it? Methinks the limitations are with WP. Simple deduction there.
  • But then the Tango argument is invalid. WP has the capabilities, obviously.
  • Yeah, who knows? The bottom line is the app is unquestionably lacking a couple of important features. However, what is there does seem to work well for whatever that's worth.
  • Skype w/ Bluetooth = fail on focus S 8107
  • Its super choppy and stuttery Windows 7 PC to my phone, using no Bluetooth its crystal.
  • So I gather that Rafael will talk about the details during this week's podcast. Is that right?
  • Most likely as an addition to his post, assuming he can make the podcast.
  • If Tango can do it then Skype should. Lets stop defending them as this is embarrassing enough already. As users we do not care about the problems all we see is one can and one can't and that is the app owned by Microsoft. On another note my experience of Skype on Apple is that its background functionality could be better itself. So maybe it is not just WP that struggled.
  • What's funny here is that Skype worked, with notifications, on my four year old Nokia Symbian.
    (Rolls eyes)
  • Unlike Tango Skype operates without having carrier service. Works for me over wi fi without having to give a mobile number. Tango won't let me must have a mobile number to operate.
  • Off topic.....does anybody know if theres any video editing app for WP?
  • Tango does not really run in the background either,initiate a call with somebody then goto the start screen, guess what happens?
  • Good point.
  • Neither tango nor Skype or lync or any other communicator work in the background. wp7 simply doesn't support it. The illusion of background tasks is created using push notifications.
    Now why doesn't skype use them? The official reason is: push notifications are too slow for Skype to handle an incoming call properly.
    I'm looking forward to Raphael explaining that the Skype protocol is shit.
  • Lets see, Skype can receive calls on four other, older, mobile platforms. Tango can do it on Windows Phone. Therefore it is irrefutable that Skype COULD be written to work this way on Windows Phone.
    So why isn't it? Well probably because it wasn't set up to work with the WinPhone architecture. In these kinds of situations, you usually have a choice between kludging together something that works, or going back and re-designing the fundamentals of the Architecture to do it the best way.
    Given that MSoft has committed to integrating Skype into WinPhone as an efficient and desirable part if the OS, I would wager that their beat minds and biggest efforts are going into making that a fully formed success when it launches with Apollo. What we have now is the best band-aid solution that can bodge together. Nothing wrong with that, but if this is close to the truth they are as usual losing the public relations battle by not just telling us so. My best guess, I have no inside connection to Microsoft. But I have been writing software and building computers since computers ran on vacuum tubes. This isn't the first time this pattern has played out ;-)
  • That is so cool! I wish I was around in those days. I've seen in movies those reels of tape going back and forth and always wondered how that worked. Is that how computers would seek data? So it could take a long time to seek data from one end of the reel to the next? Would you sometimes be prompted somehow to put on a different reel?
  • I agree for the most part and after the initial annoucement when I was bitterly dissapointed that it is still basically useless, I have calmed down now.
    However everyone seems to be forgetting that Joe B said is was coming as an app and would work over a year ago. I for one bought a new Windows Phone (HTC Titan) based on this and it was clearly wrong. I for one didnt put a gun to his head and ask him to say that. People keep telling me, hey MS only jsut bought Skype, cut them some slack. Yeah ok but they shoudl have done due diligence before spending that much and Skype management were already developing this god awful mess so WTH?
    Anyway, back to the usual MS mantra, hey it will be all good in the next version.
  • Well a few days back the CEO of Skype was in twitter showing his new HTC One... I mean I don't give a shit...but you're showing and praising the competition of the company who pay 8billions for you Ass??? Microsoft should fire him straight! They can be as independent as they want at home , they can be as multiplatform as they want at the Skype labs BUT THE F*KING CEO OF SKYPE SHOULD ONLY SHOW A WP7 HANDSET AT ANY TIME! This is like the CEO of McDonald's goes making pictures of him at Burguer King and saying how good it tastes...
  • No S*hit man! That sucka should be FIRED PRONTO!!!!!
  • MsS makes more money with Android than WP7. Trust me MS suits could careless.
  • I think it has to do with Skype not using a central server the app can ping for push notifications, as (iirc) Skype uses a p2p type setup to route connections...
  • What's killing me in all this are the users (as illustrated in the comments here). It was only a few months ago that users were foaming at the mouth and yelling, "just put the f-$%ing app out!!!!11", and now that they've somewhat rushed to market (I'm sure they would have rather waited until fall), you're now crucifying them for now reworking their entire backend? You people are waaaaay to falsely entitled. Did we all forget that this is freaking free?!?!
  • ^^^^THIS!!!!^^^