I know some people are freakishly skilled at typing on their phones, but those who aren’t will likely appreciate what SkyType has to offer. The free app lets you connect to your Windows Phone from other devices via a Wi-Fi network and trade that small touch-based keyboard for a physical one or at least a larger version if you’re using a tablet.
In other words, you can type on your phone from another device, which can really be useful when you’re dealing with long texts and/or complex URLs. There’s really no limitation to what device you can connect to your phone except it has to be connected on the same Wi-Fi network and have a web browser.
How it works
The process is really simple. Make sure your phone and the device from which you want to tap are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. As you open up SkyType you’ll be greeted by a tutorial and once you go through it, the app will instruct you to open an IP address in your other device’s browser. As soon as you do that, you’re connected to your phone!
What you can do
The web dashboard has an essential design and feels familiar even at first use. Everything SkyType lets you do is listed on the sidebar menu.
Write SMS and e-mail messages
The app lets you write SMS and e-mail messages and fill all required info. However, when you press the ‘Send’ button it won’t send the message, but will transmit all the information to your phone, and there you can actually send it. If you’re using multiple e-mail clients you’ll have to choose which one you want to use before SkyType can transfer the content you wrote in a new message window.
Dial phone numbers
The app lets you dial phone numbers from its web interface. I can’t say I find this very useful since the dialer buttons are much larger and easier to press, compared to a phone’s keyboard, but the feature is present, for whoever wants it.
Paste text to/from your phone
A more useful feature is the ability to paste text to the phone’s clipboard, and viceversa – copy text from the phone. The latter option is done in a dedicated pane within SkyType and you can paste a piece of text to the app’s web dashboard or send it to OneDrive as a plain text file.
Open links and searches in your phone’s web browser
If you need to open a really long URL that takes ages to type in on the phone , SkyType lets you use the keyboard of your connected device.
In the dedicated section of the dashboard you can enter URL addresses and even search terms that will be opened in your phone’s web browser. Besides the system’s default browser, Internet Explorer, the app supports UC Browser and Surfy.
Chat messaging and text sharing
Viber and Whatsapp are currently supported by SkyType, and you can compose messages from the web interface to be sent via one of these two chat clients. This is a beta feature so it’s not quite polished yet. The chat app you select will be launched and the text you wrote in the dashboard will be copied into the phone’s clipboard but you’ll have to paste it manually.
More app integration
Since there are a lot of apps that require typing besides the usual swiping and tapping, SkyType supports some popular titles. It lets you open up URLs in YouTube via two of the most popular clients for WP, MetroTube and TubeCast.
You can also post new status updates on Facebook and Twitter, search for your favorite artists, songs, albums and playlists on Spotify and Nokia MixRadio, search for places in Bing Maps and look up content in Windows Store.
Maybe you can’t type absolutely everywhere in your phone using SkyType’s web interface but I think it covers more than just the basics. There are lots of reasons for which the phone’s keyboard can become frustrating to use, or at least unproductive, especially for long texts. Luckily, SkyType is quite good at transferring most of your phone’s typing-related capabilities to a device of your choice that’s equipped with a better keyboard.
The app is free and add-supported, although the adds are unobtrusively placed at the top of the screen. Except for the occasional ‘rate it’ popup, there’s nothing else that could bother you while using SkyType. If you like the idea of typing on your phone from a better keyboard than its own now’s your chance!