Skype to BlackBerry users: Sit tight

Whatever happened to BlackBerry beta app Skype promised nine months ago? It's stuck in private beta, that's what. Here's what Skype has to say.

Skype logo

It's been about nine months since Skype announced its intention to release a version of Skype for BlackBerry smartphones. So where is it?

True to its word, the VoIP communications company signed on testers for a closed beta version of Skype Lite last May.

The free Skype Lite bores down to the app's core calling and IM features without support for the more advanced Skype calling tricks that you find for Windows Mobile--like file transferring and sending SMS messages. Owners of certain feature phones made by Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson can pick up Skype Lite for free, and can use Skype on data networks slower than Wi-Fi and 3G.

As for BlackBerry users, Skype's only advice is to keep waiting. Russ Shaw, General Manager of mobile at Skype, apologetically blogged at the close of 2009 that Skype has "faced delays beyond our control" in moving its BlackBerry build out of private beta testing.

Skype isn't sharing its release schedule for BlackBerry, nor has it expanded its private beta to admit new testers. In the meantime, Russ Shaw has said that Skype is continuing development on iPhone, and hints at future mobile releases. We're going out on a limb and guessing that an Android app is among them.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.