Skype for Firefox Phones – In this guide we get in details of Skype for Firefox phone availability, details, features & download links.
The year 2013 has witnessed Mozilla jump on to the smartphone OS fray. Although Firefox OS launched for smartphones has an excellent line-up of apps available through its official kit-the Mozilla Marketplace, it’s yet to feature Skype support either officially or through its open-ended mechanism.
While Mozilla is holding talks with app developers and messaging companies to bring their products on to Firefox OS, is there any possibility of Skype arriving soon on FFOS? Read on.
Why Mozilla Marketplace Should Include Skype
Skype has billions of supporters worldwide and available on Windows OS, Android OS and iOS. Currently it handles close to one-third of international telecom traffic. The Skype app for Android devices has undergone a design update in 2013 with features like improved stability and priority to conversations remarkably close to Skype for windows app.
Hardware & Proprietary Issues
Despite demand Mozilla doesn’t consider Skype’s inclusion in Mozilla Marketplace as of now, citing hardware restrictions as prime reason. Problem is you need a network-connected mobile phone to use Skype but FFOS doesn’t work on this concept. It runs web applications offline.
Could it also be for smartphone-OS competitor, Microsoft that owns Skype since 2011? The fact remains Skype is a proprietary application, and Mozilla which intends to keep its OS open is not too keen on proprietary development. We know it is developing an alternate to Skype which is adaptive to FFOS environment.
Mozilla Looking Elsewhere
Mozilla is reportedly working on an open-source Skype replacement called WebRTC that lets you make phone calls. WebRTC is an HTML5 API enabling real-time communication like video calling in browser itself. It has components to access webcam, microphone, browser-to-browser calls and peer-to-peer data exchange between browsers. It’s been available since June 2013 on Firefox for Mac, Linux and Windows and only recently on Android.
So with WebRTC its likely Mozilla may completely sidestep Skype. However amid consumer pressure, Mozilla could be forced to rethink. With current hardware issues this is surely not happening in next six months at least. But ongoing FFOS development and hardware fix-ups could bring a change in situation post-June 2014.