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Windows Phone Limitations Are Why Skype Can’t Run In Background



Skype finally came to Windows Phone a few days ago, albeit it as a beta. While it did bring most of the features of Skype to Windows Phone, there were quite a few limitations. Today we’ve learned that those limitations aren’t necessarily because the app is in beta.

According to The Verge, many of the limitations are actually a fault of Windows Phone. Skype won’t work in the background because it simply can’t run in the background on Windows Phone.

On Android and iOS, Skype can keep part of the app running in the background so users can make or stay on calls while the app is in the foreground. Windows Phone 7.5 does not have that functionality. So that means that even when the app goes gold, which is said to be in April, Skype will still only work when the app is being displayed.

Skype for Windows Phone beta

Windows Phone does support push notifications, which other VoIP apps do use, but Skype says it just takes too long process.

Skype doesn’t think it’d be practical to have the user wait for the push notification to come in, have the app open itself, and then set up the call. And that’s probably true, though there is an argument to be made for making it an option.

The last limitation isn’t as deal-breaking as the phone always having to be in the foreground. For the moment, Skype video calls can only be made when the phone is in landscape. This was just a decision that Skype made. It could change in the future, but for now it’s just landscape.

Skype also reiterated that it will continue making apps for other platforms, and not focus on just Microsoft ones. There was no confirmation that Skype would be built into Windows Phone 8, but there was no real denial, either. Skype said that it is “looking at that” and that “there are lots of options.”

Whether Skype is built into Windows Phone 8 or exists as a standalone app, the platform will hopefully have better multitasking support.

Having Skype is great, but it seems a bit useless if you have to have the app open every time you want to use it. It makes some sense for video chat, but it’d be nice to hold a voice chat or an IM conversation over Skype while doing other tasks on the phone at the same time.



  1. Jennifer Nielsen

    03/01/2012 at 4:04 pm

    Your headline is misleading and wrong. Tango uses push notifications on Windows Phone to wake up the phone to receive a video call. Other apps use push as well. It’s not the platform’s issue, it’s Skype’s.

  2. ckeledjian

    03/02/2012 at 12:22 pm

    Not only other apps such as Tango and Facebook use push notifications successfully but also Windows Phone does support background tasks: it’s called Backgroun Agents, which is a tiny portion of the real app, with no UI elements that can remain in background. Several apps already use them and you can see them in the Settings>Background tasks. Skype did not implement this most probably because it will be soon integrated into Windows PHone completely, like Facebook. It would help to actually see a WIndows Phone before reporting about it…

  3. Super Turtle

    03/03/2012 at 12:29 pm

    It is far too soon to assume that background features will not be added. Right now even the internet explorer loads pages in the background. So when I am browsing, if I see a new link, I press to hold on that link, choose open in new tab. Then just as the page starts to launch, I flip back to the page I am reading. I will do this launching of other browser windows as I work my way down the page. All of the browser windows I am launching will have loaded for me, and all did so in background. When I reached the bottom of the page I been reading, I can now flip over to read the other pages. Quite much means I never wait for pages to load, but toss them out to a new browser page to load while I continue reading.

    And, the above is being done while I have emails launched, and ALSO running TuneIn radio application running playing my favorite radio station. So, I am streaming radio, have emails coming in and browsing all the same time. The whole system runs butter smooth with all of these things occurring in background at the same time.

    They just have not split out the needed parts to background agents as of yet. The idea that background features cannot be added to Skype is an silly assumption at this point in time.

    I would be the first to admit that we might not see video streaming while you do other tasks, but the idea that background processing would not be available for this application is rather a premature assumption at this point in time.

  4. Fpriyanta

    04/25/2012 at 9:51 am

    yes, why microsoft do not implements a feature like ….network connection still alive while an app in the background ….so dissapointed about my windows phone …..MS will not kick android …if they don’t hearing customers!!!!! sorry for my bad english ….

    east java, indonesia

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