How to Communicate Using Skype on the Amazon Fire Phone - dummies

How to Communicate Using Skype on the Amazon Fire Phone

By Dan Gookin

The most popular thing to do in Skype is chat — particularly video-chat. That’s only one aspect of using Skype on your Fire phone. You can also text-chat and use Skype to place a phone call to a real phone — which is kind of silly, given that the Fire phone is a real phone. Even so, phone calling with Skype has its purpose, especially for international calling.

Chatting with another Skype user

Text-chatting with Skype works similarly to texting. The only difference is that the other person must be a Skype user. That makes it a bit more exclusive than text messaging, where the other person merely needs to have a cell phone.

To Skype-chat, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Skype app and sign in.

    You don’t need to sign in when you’ve previously run the Skype app. Like most apps on your phone, Skype continues to run until you sign out or turn off the phone.

  2. At the main Skype screen, touch the Favorites tab or People tab and choose a contact.

    Or you can choose one of the contact icons shown on the main screen.

    You can also tap the Skype Chat icon on the main Skype screen. You need to type the name of one or more people to join you in the chat.

  3. Type some text in the text box.

    The box is at the bottom of the screen. It says Type a Message Here.

  4. Touch the blue arrow icon to send the message.

    As long as your Skype friend is online and eager, you’ll be chatting in no time.

At the far right end of the text box, you find the Smiley icon. Use this icon to insert a cute graphic in your text.

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  • New Skype chat requests generate a notification. Pull down the Notification panel to peruse chat requests. Tap a request to join in the conversation.

  • To stop chatting, tap the left-pointing chevron in the upper-left corner of the screen. The conversation is retained in the Skype app, even after the other person has disconnected.

  • For the chat to work, the other user must be logged in on Skype and available to chat.

Placing a Skype voice call

To take a text chat up a notch, tap the Phone icon at the bottom of the Skype chat screen. Choose Skype Call to connect with the current chat user. At that point, you enter a voice call with the Skype user, similar to a phone call but over the Internet.

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To end the Skype voice call, tap the End Call icon.

When the Video Chat icon is disabled, the caller is unable to do video chat, either because the device he’s using doesn’t feature a camera or he’s already in a video chat and cannot start another one.

Making a Skype video call

Placing a video call with Skype is easy: Start a text chat. After the conversation starts, touch the Video Call icon. The call rings through to the contact, and if that person wants to video-chat, they pick up in no time and you’re talking and looking at each other.

When someone calls you on Skype, you see the Skype Incoming Call screen. Touch the Audio (handset) icon to answer as a voice-only call; touch the Video icon to answer using video. Touch the Decline icon to dismiss the call, especially when it’s someone who annoys you.

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The Incoming Call screen appears even when the phone is sleeping; the incoming call wakes up the phone, just as a real call would.

Touch the screen to see the onscreen controls if they disappear. Touch the red Disconnect icon to end the call:

  • Voice and video chat on Skype over the Internet are free. When you use a Wi-Fi connection, you can chat without consuming your cellular plan’s data minutes.

  • You can chat with any user in your Skype Contacts list by using a mobile device, a computer, or any other gizmo on which Skype is installed.

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  • If you plan to use Skype a lot, get a good headset.

  • It’s impossible to tell whether someone has dismissed a Skype call or simply hasn’t answered. And Skype has no voice mail, so you can’t leave a message:

Placing an international call

Because Skype uses the Internet, you can also use Skype to contact overseas Skype users without incurring extra costs (well, beyond your normal data plan). You can, however, use Skype Credit in your Skype account to dial internationally, from the United States to a foreign country as well as from a foreign country to home.

You need Skype Credit to place an international call (or any call to a real phone). The easiest way to add credit is to visit Skype on the Internet using a computer. Sign in to your account and surrender a credit card number to add credit. Although that may seem “expensive,” remember that Skype’s rates are far cheaper than placing a call by using your cellular provider.

To make an international call, log in to Skype as you normally would. At the main Skype screen, touch the Phone icon to summon the phone dialpad.

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Punch in the number, including the plus sign (+) for international access. Touch the Call icon to make the call.

When you’re finished with the call, touch the End icon.

  • To see the list of international-calling prefixes, touch the chevron by the text United States (+1).

  • Tapping the Phone Book icon (in the upper-right corner of the Skype dialpad screen) links to the Contacts app. Choose a contact to call from the address book to connect with them via Skype. In this instance, they don’t need to be a Skype user, because Skype dials their phone directly.