Skype has just launched an updated app that enables video calling on Apple devices, including the iPhone 4 and 3GS, the iPad and fourth-gen iPod touch.
Skype for iPhone just got a little better, thanks to the addition of video
That's right, catching up to the competition-we're
looking at you, Fring
-Skype users on the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPod
touch fourth generation, or with iOS 4.0 or higher, can make and receive
free Skype video calls over a WiFi or 3G connection. (Keep in mind that
additional data charges will apply to the latter.)
What this means is that colleagues can more easily discuss work details,
grandparents can coo in real time at grandbabies, and-as Skype shows off in a video
on its blog, offering truly little additional incentive, in one person's
opinion-flabby men with morning breath can dance in their skivvies for
With the new app, users can also make video calls to friends on their
computers, place free audio calls to anyone also on Skype, as well as call
landlines and mobile phones around the world at discounted rates. Video calls
can be received by owners of the iPod touch 3rd generation and iPad, and calls
can be made between devices with the new app and desktops running Skype for
Windows 4.2 or up, Skype for Mac 2.8 or up, or Skype for Linux with the ASUS
On Christmas Eve, Engadget delivered
that the new app was arriving, after discovering, on the Skype
site, a help document for the app, which was soon afterward removed.
Although Skype has been slow to get its act together in enabling video
calling on the iPhone, the capability is exploding, as the Pew
-of some 3,000 American adults recently surveyed, nearly 20 percent
have already participated in a video call from their computer or phone. (Among
18- to 29-year-old Web users, that figure has climbed to 29 percent.)
At the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Skype Platform General
Manager Jonathan Christensen should have a lot more to say on how ubiquitous the technology is likely to
become. Christensen is slated to participate in a panel called,
"Video Calling Gets Ready for Prime Time," which will pose the
question, per the CES brochure, "Has the time finally come for video conferencing
to go mainstream?"
On Dec. 9, Fring celebrated its one-year anniversary of enabling mobile
video calling-of which it has enabled more than 100 million minutes during that
time (not to mention 1.5 billion mobile voice calling minutes). It used the
opportunity to introduce a new capability, dynamic video quality (DVQ), which
adjusts video bit rate and frame rate according to a user's device and
bandwidth during the call, for optimal video quality.
"In the year since pioneering mobile video calls, we've seen that users'
network conditions change dramatically during and between video calls. That's
the nature of mobile experiences in heterogeneous networks," Alex Nerst,
co-founder and CTO of Fring, said in a
statement. "DVQ lets users make the best use of the peer-to-peer network
capacity available at any moment during a video call, regardless of [whether]
they're stepping into an elevator, commuting on a train or simply walking away
from their WiFi hub."