Skype has finally added the much-rumoured video-calling functionality to its iPhone app in direct competition to Apple’s own FaceTime.
The free video calling service will be available over 3G and WiFi networks. Available from today in the AppStore, the new Skype for iPhone App allows iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners to make and/or receive free Skype video calls. Although mobile video call technology has been around for well over five years now, widespread uptake has been very slow. The popularity of Skype could however see a lot more people use the feature.
"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. The failure of FaceTime to grab the attention of the populous, despite Apple’s large marketing push on the iPhone4 feature, could be put down to its availability only when both users are on a WiFi network.
The new Skype for iPhone app is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPod touch 4th generation with i0S 4.0 or above. Video receiving capabilities are available on the 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 ASUS Videophone.
This is obviously a welcome development from Skype but whether the 3G-to-3G video calling can work is questionable. Also battery life could suffer as a result of this app but it will be a matter of waiting to see if this takes off.