How to Skype on an Android Tablet

by Jacob Andrew

At its core, an Android tablet is simply a low-powered computer -- using Skype on it is mostly the same as using it on your PC or Mac. With a tablet, however, you get the added convenience of mobility and a touch screen. Before you can make a call using Skype on your Android tablet, you must download and run the software, connect to the Internet, and log in to your Skype account.

Getting Started

The first key to using Skype is to download the Skype application. Unlike a computer, where you would navigate to the Skype website and download an executable installer, Android tablets typically come with a store application. The most common for Android is run by Google, and it is called the Play Store. Proprietary tablets, such as the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD, will have their own app store. The store will run like a separate program. Once this store app is open, search within it for Skype, Once you find it, you should be presented with an "Install" button. Click it, and wait for your tablet to tell you that the installation is complete. You should never have to pay a fee for the Skype program.

Getting Ready to Call

Basic Skype-to-Skype calling costs nothing, but you'll need to create an account with Skype. Navigate to Skype's website and click "Join Us." The website will ask for information, including your name and a unique username. If you already have an account with Microsoft, or you have previously set up a Skype account, you can sign in with either of those usernames. Click the Skype app on your tablet, select the type of account your have, and log in.

Your First Call

To start a call, open Skype. If you have no contacts, you'll need to find the username of the person you wish to call. Do this by clicking on the "Add people" option under button showing a small person next to a plus sign. From here, you can search for the person you wish to call. Once you've added that contact, tap the "People" list and then tap the contact you wish to call. Once the contact appears, click the small phone button and wait for the party to pick up -- you should hear a phone-like ringing. You can only reach the party if they, too, are logged in to Skype. It is recommended that you arrange the call ahead of time via email. If the person you wish to call does not have a Skype account, you can also make calls to regular telephone numbers; however, this service costs money. To call a telephone, click the phone icon on the Home screen. This brings up a dial pad that, if your Skype account has credits, can be used similarly to a regular smartphone. Simply dial the number and click the phone button to place the call. To add credits to your account, you have to log in to your account through a Web browser and click on "Call phones, SMS, access Wi-Fi," which will give you the opportunity to buy credits in 10 or 25 dollar increments. Rates vary depending on the country you wish to call.

Other Considerations

With Skype, there are also call quality issues to deal with. First, ensure you're in an area with a relatively strong Wi-Fi or 3G/4G signal. If conducting a video call, try to keep yourself well-lit and position yourself in front of a a relatively blank background. If your tablet uses 3G or 4G connection, remember that your Skype calls will count against your data total for the month, if not connected through Wi-Fi. Video calls will consume significantly more data than voice-only calls. You can turn off video at any time during the call by clicking "Stop Video." If you want to make a video call without affecting your wireless data count, connect your tablet to a Wi-Fi network before opening Skype.

About the Author

Jacob Andrew previously worked as an A+ and CCNA-certified technology specialist. After receiving his BA in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2012, he turned his focus towards writing about travel, politics and current technology.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera LDProd/iStock/Getty Images