Yesterday, April 25th 2013, the Skype app was released into BlackBerry World, compatible with the Q10 and Dev Alpha C only. Strangely, it is labeled ‘Skype Preview’. However, it appears to be fully featured, and voice and video chatting work well in addition to all the other features you would expect from the Skype app. Perhaps it’s been tagged as a preview to signify that major updates are on their way, but until that happens, the ‘preview’ label is a mystery. So, if you are one of the lucky souls to own either a brand spanking new BlackBerry Q10, or Dev Alpha C, you can go ahead and download it from BlackBerry world.
However, if you’re a Z10 owner and are feeling rather left out at this point, fear not. Although not official, a .bar file (for those who don’t know, that’s the format that BlackBerry apps are packaged in) of the Skype app in development for the Z10 has been leaked by BlackBerryOS.com. Now, this not an official release, so you can’t go into BlackBerry World and download it. You will have to sideload the app. If you are unfamiliar with this process, I recommend checking out BlackBerryOS’s excellent tutorial on how to do so. It isn’t overly complicated, and should have you up and running with a functional Skype app in a few minutes!
Not all features that will make it into the final build of Skype for the BlackBerry Z10 are here. For example, when the app finally launches officially for the Z10 (which BlackBerry has confirmed will be after or with the release of OS 10.1) it will be able to alert you to incoming calls and messages in real-time even when the app isn’t running. This is because of a feature that BlackBerry is building into the BB10 OS, called headless apps. It’s a lot less complicated than it sounds. All it means is that an app will be able to run in the background all the time, without being displayed in the running apps section as an open active frame. And it’s a feature that they are building into OS 10.1 for developers to start to take advantage of. This is why it is only officially available on the Q10 at the moment, because the Q10 is running OS 10.1 and the Z10 isn’t yet.
So, between the fact that it’s not the version that will ship with OS 10.1, and the fact that it’s a leak, there will probably be some glitches and it won’t be as polished as the final product. However, until we get the official release of OS 10.1, and Skype, this is a great way to get Skype on your BlackBerry…… Finally. Just a note that although the official version will require OS 10.1, this leak does not, so you’re good to go if you own a Z10 and are willing to sideload the leaked app to get it.