Skype for Windows Phone cannot be used in the background, cites platform limitations

Skype for Windows Phone made a pretty big splash this week at Mobile World Congress, but now that the din has lessened somewhat, the harsh reality of what it can’t do is emerging. Though Skype for Windows Phone looks great and works very well for a beta, certain limitations of Windows Phone itself prevents it from running in the background or receiving calls when the app isn’t open.

What does this mean? If you, say, have a scheduled call with someone but want to mess around on your device before they call, you’re out of luck. If someone tries to phone you and the app is not open, you will appear offline and their call will go straight to voicemail. Similarly, if you are in a call and want to exit the app to browse on your device like a regular call, the call will be disconnected and the app will close.

Though there are certain background agents available to Windows Phone applications like third-party music players, this feature hasn’t been extended yet to VoIP clients. And what about a push notification to alert you of when someone is calling? According to Skype, the turnaround is too slow for a real-time call; by the time you’d see the toast notification, open the app and answer the call, too much time would have passed on the other side for it to be feasible.

Don’t expect things to change before the final build in April, either. This limitation is built into Windows Phone Mango, though Skype won’t comment on whether its app will be more heavily integrated into the OS in Apollo, the version expected to be called Windows Phone 8. iOS had a similar limitation before iOS 4, but considering Microsoft now owns Skype you’d figure they’d try to make an exception for one of the platform’s most important apps.

We had a chance to test out Skype for Windows Phone and despite limitations the app does a great job; it is fast to connect, has fantastic sound quality and overall feels less cluttered than the iOS and Android versions. If you’re interested in downloading the Skype Beta, check out our previous post.

Source: The Verge