New York — Popular internet telephony service Skype has not had a very good week, which has been dealing with some serious downtime issues, but it looks like there is good news on the horizon. Skype is all set to knock FaceTime off its high chair, Skype is finally going to enter the market of mobile video calls, at the Consumer Electronics Show CES 2011, the VoIP telephony giant announced its video calling abilities is that the company is taking part in a panel called “Video Calling Gets Ready for Primetime”.
A soon-to-be released update for Skype Mobile for both iPhone 4 and the latest-generation iPod Touch will make a long-awaited feature possible for the Holidays. Although the company did not mentioned whether Skype for Android, Symbian and other platforms (however, the Nokia N900 was the first mobile device to get Skype video calling abilities) will also get Skype with video calling abilities.
The proof springs up from a help document discovered on Skype’s website. Titled “How do I make video calls with Skype for iPhone?” It speaks one thousand words in, well, ten.
Skype’s giving more to iPhone 4
Skype already delivers mobile apps for iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and other platforms which empowers you to make free calls to other users and cheap calls to phone numbers. Skype also offers desktop software for Windows, Mac and Linux which lets you do the same thing — plus make free video calls to other Skype users. But you know what Skype does not offer yet? Video calls on mobile devices.
An Engadget tipster forwarded a link to a Skype support document explaining how to make video calls on Skype for the iPhone.
We are, of course, referring to the introduction of video calling for Skype Mobile on iOS (and potentially Android and so forth in the near future). Video chat is not available in the latest version of Skype for iOS, but if this support document is anything to go by, it seems as though it is on its way soon. Skype is also expected to make some announcements at CES in early January, so odds are we wiil only have to wait a few more weeks for this feature.
Interestingly, if Skype is going to introduce the versions of its client for all existing mobile platforms, then we can say with certainty that it will instantly take a dominant position in the market of video calls from mobile to mobile, as well as from smartphones to PC.
Skype is not the first company to enter into the mobile video calling sphere. Apple’s FaceTime app comes standard with the iPhone 4 and 4th generation iPod touch. Fring lets you make video calls on Android and iOS, as does Tango. But Skype is probably the biggest name in internet telephony at the moment, making this a pretty big deal.
Ultimately, Skype already has some experience in mobile video calls: the first smartphone with official support of this function was Nokia N900. Nevertheless, the company will be the first to enter the mass-market.
Furthermore, Skype currently uses both Wifi as well as GSM/EDGE for its regular chat abilities. Video calling will most likely also use Wifi and/or 3G. It clearly has a competitive advantage over FaceTime and with CES only a few weeks away, we can not wait to find out what Skype has in store and how well it works.
See the rest of the help document translated from Japanese:
To make video calls with your contacts, you will need an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, 3rd generation iPod touch, 4th generation iPod touch or an iPad. Your contacts will only be able to see you if your device has a camera. Make sure your device is running iOS 4.0 or above and that you are using Skype for iPhone 3.0 or above.
The contacts you are calling must be using one of the following Skype clients:
- Skype for Windows version 4.2 and above
- Skype for Mac OS X version 2.8 and above
- Skype for iPhone 3.0 and above
You can make Skype video calls by using a WiFi or 3G connection*. The quality of the video will depend upon the available network conditions.
*Additional data charges may apply. Check with your operator for details.
If you have an iPhone or iPod touch with two cameras – front and rear – you will be able to switch between them during a Skype video call. If you have an iPhone 3GS it will always use the rear camera.
If you turn your device into landscape mode, the camera picture will automatically rotate.
In both portrait and landscape mode double tapping anywhere on your screen will zoom the picture to take up the full extent of the screen. Double tapping again will take the picture back to its normal size.
While on a Skype video call the sound will always be played through the loudspeaker, unless a headset is plugged into the device.
During a video call tap your screen to display the camera and microphone controls. Tap and hold down the microphone button to put the call on hold. To resume the call, simply tap the hold symbol on the screen.
Yes, at any time during a Skype video call you can choose to turn off the video. Tap the Camera button and select the No Camera option. To turn the video back on tap the Camera button again and then tap the camera you want to switch on.
When your iPhone is processing a lot of video its CPU (Central Processing Unit) has to work very hard and makes the iPhone become warm to the touch. You will experience the same thing if you stream videos through applications like Netflix or YouTube.
Yes, you will be able to receive screen shares from people using Skype for Windows or Mac OSX. You cannot share what is on the screen of your iPhone with other people and you cannot receive a screen share from another iPhone user.
No, you will be switched to audio only, as Skype for iPhone does not support group video calling.
The quality of the video you send and receive from your iPhone will depend upon the quality and bandwidth available on the WiFi or 3G network you are connected to. For best results, make sure you have nothing else running that might use up your bandwidth.