Smartphones and tablets usually have builtin microphones and cameras, which means with the right app, you can use them for video chats and even video conferencing. In this chapter, we’ll talk about several apps for doing both video and audio calls. Each of these tools works differently and are valuable in different scenarios. In this movie, we’ll start with Skype. Skype works great for both audio and video calls. Using your smartphone or tablet, you can call other Skype users, whether they’re on a computer or a mobile device. You can also do group audio calls, but you cannot do group video calls from a mobile device.

Skype also supports audio calls to traditional phones. Using Skype on your tablet or smartphone,you can call somebody on a regular telephone. All of the features of Skype are free, except for when you call a telephone. I’m going to launch Skype here. Skype is a free download from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store. You’ll need to have an account to use Skype. You can set up a free account, or if you already have a Microsoft account, you can log in with that. So I’ll log in here.

Between iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and Android tablets, each version of Skype will look a little different. The functionality is mostly the same, but there are little differences on each device.So we’re going to see Skype here on an iPhone, but you may need to hunt around and find the right controls on a different device. So if I swipe through here on the main screen, I can go through different sections. Recent shows me the most recent list of people I’ve talked to, then I’ve got my Favorites section, but I want to go to People.

This is my list of contacts. This is the list of people that I can call on Skype, and that’s the first thing I want to do. I want to call somebody. But since I don’t have anybody in my contacts, I need to add them. To do that, I’ll need to search for the person I want to talk to in the Skype database and add them as a contact. Now, of course, they will need to have a Skype account already set up. So I’m going to tap on the button in the bottom, right corner, and I’ll choose Add People. And I want to talk to my friend Jim.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of VoIP
Disadvantages of VoIP

Now, Jim plays basketball, so he set up the username Jim Sanders MVP because he is an MVP at basketball. So that’s his username, I’ll do a search, it finds him in the Skype database, so I’m going to go ahead and add him as a contact. I’ll tap on him there, and I need to send a contact request, which I’ll do here. So now I’m just waiting for him to accept this request. I’m going to take a step back by hitting the button in the top, left.

I see Jim on my list here, but since he has not accepted my request, he does not show up as online and accessible. Now that Jim has accepted my request, we’re now connected, and I can see that he’s online. And if I tap on him, it says You and Jim Landers are now contacted. So now that Jim is a contact, I can call him. Since I’ve already selected him, I see his information here down at the bottom of the screen. I can choose to do a video call or an audio call. They both work pretty much the same, so let’s do a video call.

So I’ll tap on that button, and it’s going to call him. And now my camera is running so I can frame up my shot here. And in a moment, he will answer, and there he is. Hey, Jim, thanks for helping me out with this. So while I’m talking to Jim, I have some buttons down on the bottom of the screen.You see they faded away, but if I tap on the screen, they’ll pop up again. So I can mute my audio if I want just by hitting the mute button here. I’m going to unmute my audio by tapping that again. I could disable my camera as well just by hitting the camera button, and now we’re just on a chat where I can see him and he can hear me and I can hear him but he won’t see me.

Let me turn my camera back on; and, of course, when I’m done, I can just hit the hang up button.That’s the red button there. Now, before I hang up, Jim, can you call me right back? I want to see what this looks like when you call me. All right, good. So let me go ahead and hang up here, and now the call is done and I can hit the back button here and I’m back to my list of people. Now, in a moment Jim will call me, and we’ll see what it looks like when I receive an incoming call. So now that call is coming in from Jim.

Now, if I don’t want to answer this call, I could just hit the red button. If I want to answer it but I only want to use audio, I don’t want to show video, then I could hit the green button in the middle.But I want to do video and audio, so I’ll hit the camera button here and that answers the call. And in a moment, we’ll be connected. All right, and there he is again. Thanks a lot for helping me, Jim. I think we’re all set. All right, so I’m going to hang up this call. I bring up the onscreen controls just by tapping on the screen, and then I’ll hit the red button. So those are the basics.

I can also use Skype to have a text chat with one of my contacts. So here on the screen, where I’m looking at Jim’s information, I can just tap on this field that says type a message. And then I’ll hit the Send button and that message has been sent to him. And when he responds, I’ll see his response pop up here. Finally, I want to talk about calling an actual telephone. This feature is particularly useful when you’re traveling to a place where you won’t have a cellular phone connection, but you will have wifi.

This is often referred to as Voice Over IP or VOIP. Using this feature, you can call a regular phone as long as you can connect to Skype on your mobile device. This is the one feature that is not free. It’s much cheaper to call somebody using Skype than any traditional long distance charge. To get an idea of the pricing options, check out this website. You can log in with your Skype account on this website to add credit to your account. Or back in the app, I’m going to leave this conversation, I’ll hit my account button up in the top-right, and there’s an option here for Skype credit.

I’m currently at $0.00, but if I tap on that, I can add credit. Now this would be an in-app purchase if I do it on the phone, which means it will charge my iTunes account but I’m going to do that. I’m going to hit Add $4.99 credit, it’s going to charge the credit card that I already set up with the iOS App Store, it’s going to ask for my password for confirmation, I have to confirm this in-app purchase, which is fine, I’ll hit Buy. Now that I’ve purchased some credit, it shows that I have $4.99 in credit that I can use to place calls to regular phones.

So now I’m going to take a step back to the regular Skype interface. To make a call to a regular phone, down at the bottom of the screen, there’s a dialer button. That’s the one in the middle on the left, So I tap on that. Now, I could just dial a regular phone number, or there’s a button up at the top that links directly to the address book on my device. So if I tap on that, I can see all the people in my address book. I’m going to find Josh, I’m going to call him, so I tap on that.

And from here, I can just tap on his phone number, and then I can just hit the phone button down at the bottom and it will dial him. In a moment, he’ll answer the phone, and we can have a conversation just as if I was using a regular telephone. Hey, Josh, thanks for helping me out. I’m just going to go ahead and hang up now and continue on. So all I need to do here to hang up is just hit the red button at the bottom and I’ll hang up there. So that should give you an idea of the general functions in Skype.

Skype is a great solution for video and audio calls from a mobile device. It’s great because it runs on all mobile devices and computers so it doesn’t matter what platform you’re on. But you do need to keep in mind that group video calls are not available on mobile devices, but everything else works as you might expect.

 

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