Skype’s New Year bombshell: Video calling for Apple

Dec 30, 2010
Finance

On the heels of its Christmas week outage, Skype, the popular telephone service, needed some good news. And now it has some—maybe to compensate for the bad. Whatever the reason, and ahead of next week’s Consumer Electronics Show, Skype has updated its app to make video calling available for iPhone 4 and some other Apple […]

On the heels of its Christmas week outage, Skype, the popular telephone service, needed some good news. And now it has some—maybe to compensate for the bad.

Whatever the reason, and ahead of next week’s Consumer Electronics Show, Skype has updated its app to make video calling available for iPhone 4 and some other Apple (AAPL) products—just in time for the traditional New Year’s rush on Skype.

Skype blogger Peter Parkes reports: “Our iPhone app now comes with video. Download it now from the App Store.”

He said Skype for iPhone enables users to make and receive free Skype video calls on iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch 4th generation with i0S 4.0 or above. Users also can receive video calls on iPod touch 3rd generation and iPad. Calls can be made between devices using the new Skype for iPhone app and desktops including Skype for Windows 4.2 and above, Skype for Mac 2.8 and above, Skype for Linux and the ASUS videophone.

Check out a Skype video on the new features at YouTube.

This will be a powerful test for Skype’s network of more than 560 million registered users—about 25 million of whom may be using the service at a time.

As it stands, about 40 percent of Skype calling is over video. And the new move to hand-held devices could help grow video calling into a mainstream service.

Chris Ziegler reports in Engadget: “All signs have been pointing to this release for a few days now, but we’ll admit: we expected Skype to wait until CES next week to pull the covers off what could become its crown jewel service over the coming months.”

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With its large footprint on PCs, Ziegler said the service is positioned to “put the hurt on  (Apple’s) FaceTime usage.”

Ryan Kim at GigaOm said: “Skype has the built-in user base and momentum to make mobile video chatting mainstream. It’s not for everyone, mind you, but they’ve got the pieces in place and the momentum to make this a reality for a lot of users.”

Skype is planning other announcements at CES in Las Vegas. Maybe one will be video calling for Google’s (GOOG) Android.

(Disclosure: I am the former U.S. blogger for Skype.)

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