Today Skype updated its official iPhone app and version 3.0 brings with it video calling over WiFi and 3G. Two-way Skype-to-Skype video calling can take place between two phones and between phones and computers (Windows, Mac, or Linux) at no charge. In addition to the iPhone 4, the app is also compatible with the iPhone 3GS, the newest iPod touch, the third gen iPod touch, and the iPad all running iOS 4.0 or higher. Since the latter two devices do not feature back and front-facing cameras they are restricted to only receiving video. And note that since the 3GS does not pack a front-facing camera it will only broadcast video from the back-facing camera.
I gave the app a test drive and it worked flawlessly…over WiFi, that is. With that stable connection I was able to successfully connect to a desktop Skype client and video chatting worked as advertised. With the iPhone 4 you have the option to broadcast video from the front-facing camera and switch it to the back one on the fly, as well as options to mute the conversation and switch between portrait and landscape modes. When I disabled WiFi and attempted an iPhone 4-to-desktop video chat the video appeared noticeably more pixelated and laggy until it decided to cut out completely and drop the call. But that’s 3G for you; heck, at least it works.
The free Skype update is available to download now at the App Store. Apple might have had a leg up on the video conferencing competition with FaceTime since iPhone 4’s introduction, but with Mac and Windows support–plus 3G support–plus a giant user base in the millions–Skype is enabling the futuristic functionality for a significantly larger community of iOS users. Press release and (creepy) introductory demonstration video after the break.
Skype Brings Video Calling to iPhones
Share the Moments that Matter Most over 3G and WiFi
30 DECEMBER, 2010 – Luxembourg – Skype today announced the new version of its iPhone application that brings video calling to millions of mobile users around the globe over both 3G and WiFi networks. Available to download from the Apple App Store today, the new Skype for iPhone App allows iPhone , iPad and iPod touch owners to make and/or receive free* Skype video calls for the first time. Users can now see their family, friends and colleagues around the world while talking to them. With approximately 25 million concurrent users logged into Skype at any given time**, the new Skype for iPhone makes it easier than ever to share moments wherever you are.
Video calling significantly enhances the user experience of Skype for iPhone, which is one of the top five free iPhone apps in 2010 according to Apple. Now, users can make and receive free Skype-to-Skype calls, call mobiles and landlines around the world at very low rates, and now share more moments together with video on Skype for iPhone.
“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. “By bringing video to mainstream users at their home or work via their desktops, on the go with their mobiles, or into their living room via their TV, Skype has made it possible for millions of people to share video moments wherever they are.”
A video call evolves communication beyond transactional experiences to a shared experience where people can share any occasion with others wherever they are. Whether this is a military father watching the birth of his child while deployed abroad, loved ones communicating via sign language or work colleagues collaborating around the globe – the opportunities are endless.
Users can place Skype video calls with their iPhone over both a 3G data connection* or WiFi. 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.
The Skype for iPhone application is available for free download from the App Store or at www.skype.com/go/iphone