Our pals over at Android Community have spent some hands on time with the new Skype with Video app for Android devices. This is the new version of the Skype app that allows for video calls between users. The crux of the review is that it does what it promises very well.
Video calls were a mainstay of classic sci-fi films, and even today there's something almost magical about seeing your friends and family on the screen of a portable device. Video calling has been around for some time, but it's only really in the past year or so that its got more attention among regular users. That's thanks in no small part to Apple and FaceTime, as found on the iPhone 4, iPad 2 and other gadgets from the company's range. Read on as we give FaceTime the full SlashGear 101 treatment!
RIM are currently working on a new peer-to-peer video conferencing app expected to launch alongside the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, and taking advantage of the slate's front and rear facing cameras. According to RIM VP of enterprise strategy David Heit, talking to CIO, the company opted for home-grown software rather than relying on a third-party app like Skype.
Facebook and Skype have apparently returned to the negotiating table, with the prospect of Facebook users being offered video call functionality. Talks last year between the two companies resulted in the launch of Skype voice calls between Facebook friends, but according to Bloomberg's pair of sources the discussions had also tentatively covered video calls as well.
That failed to appear in the October Skype update, but with Apple's FaceTime system gaining momentum - likely to be aided with the launch of the iPad 2 later this week, which features twin cameras for FaceTime support - it seems Facebook's interest has re-awakened.
As far as we're aware, Cisco's umi 1080 telepresence system hasn't exactly taken the video calling world by storm - the company itself says that, since the set-top camera went on sale in October 2010, "thousands of people" have used it - but perhaps a price cut, a cheaper model and a free computer app will address that. The Cisco umi 720, as the name suggests, will demand less broadband speed for reduced image quality, with a lighter impact on your wallet.
FaceTime for Mac 1.0 has been added to the Mac App Store, the non-beta version of the video chat software allowing OS X users to make video calls with iPhone 4 and iPod touch owners. Priced at $0.99, the app keeps the same straightforward UI as the public beta, with registration via a user's Apple ID and then a simple list of contacts to choose from.
Skype and Qik jointly announced at MWC 2011 that they plan on further integrating their technologies to help improve Qik's video calls on Sprint and T-Mobile devices and develop Skype's video calling solution for the Verizon LTE network. However, during the talk, Skypes's head of consumer product management, Rick Osterloh, hinted at the possibility of bringing Skype's video calling to AT&T devices. "Let's watch out for some announcements there," said Osterloh when asked about pursuing a relationship with AT&T as a video calling partner.
Skype is keeping busy at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. With rumors that the company would be buying Qik by the end of the show, and then turning out that the deal is already almost finished up, it seems that the company is revamping a few key areas of their business plan at the start of 2011. With that in mind, the company has unveiled a new premium package for those who need to do more, together.
According to an insider, Skype may be looking to pick up Qik and add them into their fold soon. Qik's name became popular more recently with the introduction of video calls on mobile phones, and Skype's rumored purchase of the unit would lead some to believe that Skype is trying to stay ahead of the pack when it comes to that particular feature. According to the report, the deal would be somewhere in the park of $100 million.
Skype's new video call functionality in the updated iPhone app works, but it could have a significant impact on your data usage every month. Unlike Apple's own Face Time video calling, which only works over WiFi connections, the new Skype for iPhone video calls can be made over a 3G connection. However, 9 to 5 Mac found that those cellular video calls churn through a whopping 3.4MB of 3G data per minute.