Skype Releases iPhone Video Calling Over 3G And Wi-Fi To Rival FaceTime

January 3, 2011 0

Los Angeles — As it was touted, Skype has finally stepped up to the competition by adding two-way video chatting to its VoIP iPhone app! Skype has finally got the bells ringing in 2011 with the addition of video calling to its Skype for iPhone App including video calling and 3G access.

Indeed, this long awaited addition is one for which Skype-watchers and users have been yearning since Fring’s two-way video calling app nosed into the iPhone app store this past July, following Apple’s introduction of its own Face Time video chatting software.

The update that was rumored to be released at CES in Las Vegas in the coming week but it looks like Christmas has come early for millions of iPhone users everywhere.

Skype’s iPhone app has been updated to incorporate video-calling, the company has announced. With Skype 3.0, you can originate video calls from Skype on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and 4th-generation iPod touch, and you can receive video calls on the iPad and the 3rd-generation iPod touch. Video calling works over both Wi-Fi and 3G, Skype says.

The universal release may take some time, so be patient if you do not find it immediately. However, the app is bundled with many of the features you would expect. You can use either 3G or Wi-Fi to place two-way video calls, and the technology works in both portrait and landscape modes. On iOS devices with two cameras, you can stream video from either. iPhone 3GS users, of course, can only stream video from that device’s sole rear-facing camera. Users’ can mute a call, place or answer a call with just audio or with audio and video, and swap between the front-facing or rear-facing cameras.

Calls can also be made between devices using the new Skype for iPhone app and desktop computers. Furthermore, the Skype for iPhone app retains its supporting capabilities as well, like instant messenger and SMS to chat with friends before, after, or during a call; and status message updates. There is also a history tab for reviewing recent communications with members of your buddy list.

A Skype spokesman said “with approximately 25 million concurrent users logged into Skype at any given time, the new Skype for iPhone makes it easier than ever to share moments wherever you are.”

Skype for iPhone is one of the top five free iPhone apps in 2010 according to Apple.

“With video calling representing approximately 40% of all Skype-to-Skype minutes for the first six months of 2010, our users have been eager to get Skype video calling on their mobile phones,” said Neil Stevens, general manager of Skype’s consumer business.

Skype’s new iPhone app allows video-calling over mobile networks Two-way video chatting: it’s here.  (Credit: Skype)

Because Apple’s FaceTime technology that is currently restricted to Wi-Fi calling only, many Apple fans have “jailbroken” their iPhones to enjoy 3G video calling already, but the new Skype App will be available through Apple’s own App Store and permit the service on standard devices.

Nevertheless, video-calling has been popularized by FaceTime, but opinion remains divided on its long-term popularity. It is now also built in to Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect gaming console. Skype’s app and the video calls will be free, subject to data charges dependent on users’ mobile phone tariffs. Both will work on iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS as well as iPad and iPod Touch.

The move means a mainstream company is now offering video-calling over mobile phone networks, but it lets one wonder whether Skype’s timing for adding video chat to its app might aim to make us forget about the company’s recent extended outage, but that would require remembering said outage happened in the first place.

Skype’s video calling on iPhone (photos)