Android phone users finally now have the ability to make video calls to desktop PCs or even an iPhone
A video showing the updated app in operation can be found here.
“We are committed to bring Skype Video Calling to as many platforms as possible and are delighted to deliver on this with our new updated Skype for Android app,” said Neil Stevens, Skype’s vice president and general manager for product and marketing. “With approximately 30 million concurrent users logging into Skype at any given time and making up to half a million simultaneous video calls, Skype for Android with video makes it even easier for users to share moments with their contacts wherever they are.”
And of course the Android client also offers the other usual Skype options such as Skype Out (the ability for Skype users to make calls to landlines or mobiles around the world) and Skype’s SMS service.
However Apple iPhone users will be asking what the fuss is all about, as they have enjoyed the ability to make Skype video calls since Christmas when Skype released an updated iPhone client.
And of course Apple users also have the option of using Apple’s Facetime or even rival offerings such as Fring.
The tardy arrival of Skype video calling on Android handsets seems curious given the large market share that Android currently enjoys. And to make matters even worse, Skype video calling on Android is currently limited to just a few handsets, and they have to run Android Version 2.3 (Gingerbread). Another must of course is front and rear facing cameras, as the Android client can switch between the two, so you can show people what you are seeing, as well as your face.
According to Skype, “for this first phase of launch, handsets that support video calling include the HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, Sony Ericsson Xperia pro and the Google Nexus S.”
It said that more handsets will be supported “very soon”.
Skype has previous form however about the late delivery of video calling on certain devices. For example Sony PSP users continue to experience a frustrating absence of video calling capabilities for the Skype app for that platform, despite the device being around since 2004.
Skype has also been somewhat late to the mobile platform in general, as it only delivered a full VoIP client for the iPhone back in June 2010, before pushing out to other mobile operation systems and handsets.