Sunday, December 26, 2010

Skype to bring video chat to Apple devices

Skype to bring video chat to Apple devices by January 2011?

Get ready, Apple—the exclusivity of your company's FaceTime video-chatting service for the iPhone might soon be drawing to a close. And it's going to take a service as large as Skype to make the first push into Apple's territory, for rumors are intensifying that the company plans to unveil its own video-chat feature for its mobile apps at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in January.

According to a FAQ page published on the Skype site (it's since been removed), video calls on a device like Apple's iPhone could transpire over both a user's 3G and Wi-Fi connections—that's actually an upgrade from FaceTime, which only officially works across one's Wi-Fi connection.

The new version of Skype supporting video chat would only work on iOS 4.0 or higher, as well as an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, a third- or fourth-generation iPod Touch, or an iPad. Users would allegedly be able to hit up video chats with their PC or Mac counterparts, however there's no mention of whether the FaceTime alternative will initially work with (or even be available for) Android-based Skype apps.

Mobile users would also be able to receive screen-sharing from desktop or laptop Skype users. But, as one might expect, iPhone-to-iPhone screen sharing looks like it's disabled (what would one share, anyway?) Those with devices like the iPhone 4 and its dual-facing cameras would be able to instantly switch the picture between the two by tapping controls on the screen.

Although the FAQ does make reference to the aforementioned iPad, it's unclear whether Skype's video-chat debut will beat Apple's own iPad chatting upgrade to the punch. The company has yet to release a compatible version of FaceTime for its tablet device, and rumors had pegged Apple to be working hard to deliver the update before Christmas. That doesn't look like it's going to happen. But it would be a feather in Skype's hat if it could beat the iPad's manufacturer to a video-chatting app for its own device.


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