Video Calling soon to be available between Apple devices, laptops and desktops, courtesy of Skype.
Currently, the only real video phone capability available for widespread consumer use is Apple’s FaceTimeChat software. FaceTime Sex Chat is available only on Apple’s iPhone 4 and on computers running on the Mac OS. It also works only on a Wi-Fi connection, as the 3G data network currently does not support it, which is why older iPhones cannot take advantage of it either.
However, the news about Skype’s new software was leaked over the weekend and then promptly retracted; leading many of us in the tech community to believe somebody pressed the launch button a bit too soon. Nevertheless, it seems likely that a new app by Skype will be released in the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in January. The info was posted on Skype’s own FAQ page before being removed.
Best of all, it seems the company is poised to make some serious inroads into Apple’s monopoly, because based on the leaked information, the new Skype App will work on both Wi-Fi and the 3G network. Video chat will be possible on iPhone 4, iPhone 3Gs, iPads and on a third or Fourth generation iPod Touch.
People will also be able to video chat between their notebooks / personal computers and all the aforementioned Apple mobile devices. Users will also be able to receive screen sharing from Skype users on a desktop or laptop, on either Windows or Mac OS X version of Skype.
The fact that the Skype FAQ mentioned the iPad leads many to wonder whether they’ll beat Apple to the punch by allowing video-chat capability on the device before Apple is even able to launch a FaceTime Chat upgrade to it. So far there have been no public talks regarding Apple’s intention to release such an upgrade to the iPad, therefore Skype’s App would definitely impact the company’s future actions. The FAQ leak mentioned that Skype would be releasing a mobile version of the software client specifically written for the iPad.
Although Skype is not particularly known for its customer service—there isn’t even an official channel other than some email addresses to appeal to, the company is maintaining a good reputation with users—even after the recent interruption to its service that affected calls worldwide. By Skype’s own estimates, as many as 10 million calls were disrupted on December 23 in Latin America, USA, Europe and Asia.
However, the company was able to use Twitter, Facebook and its own blog to reach out to users. Skype acted fast and was forthright about the outage, keeping users in the know, by apologizing profusely and by letting them know that the issue was being worked on. Skype’s CEO Tony Bates issued a formal apology for the outage to users on YouTube as well as on their blog the same day. Someone in their PR department definitely understands the value of social media in working through a product malfunction crisis.
But the result of Skype’s efforts to combat what could have been a bad PR nightmare worked.
Now with the ‘leaked’ information about video calling capabilities making its rounds in the blogosphere, one can only imagine the positive press that the company is experiencing. The news definitely makes the company look strong, particularly against Apple’s video calling product FaceTime. Maybe it wasn’t mistakenly published at all, but was meant to tease users and make them stop thinking about the recent outage. Well done Skype.