UPDATE: As pointed out in comments, Android honcho Andy Rubin responds on the Google blog:
Here are the facts, clear and simple: While the first generation of our Android software did not support full-featured VoIP applications due to technology limitations, we have worked through those limitations in subsequent versions of Android, and developers are now able to build and upload VoIP services.
Rubin claims USA Today was made aware of this, but also says "individual operators can request that certain applications be filtered if they violate their terms of service", which basically means AT&T's no SlingPlayer, or conceivably any networks no-VoIP policy, would still affect Android, so -- okay. Let's get to it Skype and we'll see what T-Mo really thinks.
However, Rubin does dream, like all of us (likely even Apple, in public, if asked) of the day when "dumb pipes" are a reality.
ORIGINAL: Google Android cripples Skype by keeping it off the data network at the request of carriers? Shocked, shocked are we!
Rewind. The FCC has asked Apple, AT&T, and Google to answer some important questions about the iPhone App Store approval process, what role AT&T plays in rejecting apps, and specifically what happened to cause Google Voice to get rejected and 3rd party Google Voice apps removed. So what's new now? Well, apparently Google isn't only being questioned as a "victim". Turns out, they have some explaining to do in their own right. Says Apple Insider:
Skype told USA Today that Android does not support a full-featured version of Skype. And Google admitted it blocks VOIP connections at the request of "individual operators," without naming T-Mobile, the only U.S. carrier for Android at the moment. However, a T-Mobile representative denied that the company has requested Google to block Skype. Like Apple, Google must describe its process for reviewing and approving applications for the FCC. Those filings are expected Friday.
What makes this amusing to TiPb is that some individuals have vocally "switched" from the iPhone to Android due to Google being more "open". While a few have regretted that and switched back -- or just loudly lamented their new usability conditions -- this goes to show what TiPb (and all of Smartphone Experts) have been saying for a long time -- it's the carriers that need to become dumb pipes, supplying data and getting their noses completely out of how users use that data.
We'd encourage the well-intentioned but (in our humble opinion) ultimately misguided iPhone boycotters to use whatever device provides the best fit for their needs, and to direct their time, energy, and social power at the carriers instead. Then, at the very least, we'll see what Apple, Google, and others are truly responsible for on their own...
(And lest you think your device has real Skype, or SlingPlayer, or whatever, carrier terms of service apply to everyone and just because you're under the radar now, doesn't mean they won't shoot you down next).