Word around the web is that Skype is in the process of purchasing Qik for a cool $150 million. While not expected, the deal isn't exactly surprising, either: Skype is already a major player in the internet phone business, and in 2010, Qik substantially expanded its presence in mobile video calling and streaming. In fact, 2010 was huge for Qik: they expanded their customer base from 600,000 to 5 million users - roughly an eight-fold increase.
In the world of design mock-ups, where phones are seen with operating systems as-yet unavailable to them, the Nexus One can make video calls. Nope, this isn't an internal hardware hack like we saw on the Vibrant; it's a simple attachment in the form of an array of prisms and mirrors called OneMoreFace. We've already seen a few examples of this idea implemented for the older (pre-iPhone 4) iPhones, but this is probably the slickest design so far.
Today is obviously the day for popular applications to add QVGA support. As Rovio did only hours ago, Skype have added support for the increasingly-common 320x240 resolution in their application. That's good news for owners of the HTC Wildfire, Motorola Charm, Huawei IDEOS and LG Optimus T/S, who were left out in the cold until now. Skype for Android has had some nice bug fixes and improvements added, too:
This is really no big deal for Verizon users who have been able to do that since March but, thanks to some creative tweaking, the all-carrier version of Skype for Android can now make calls over 3G in the US. If you remember, the version distributed in the Market prompts you to enable WiFi in order to make calls to both Skype and regular phone numbers.
Xeudoxus (known for his work on Dark Edge) got a bit creative with the Skype apk and has released it to the on-the-go Skyping masses.
Today Fring announced their latest feature: fringOut. If that sounds suspiciously like Skype's offering, Skypeout, don't be shocked. They are essentially the same service. They posted this on their blog earlier today with a definite sense of smugness:
After months and months of waiting for a voice-enabled Skype to be out on Android and giving Verizon users an evil eye for that exclusive deal Skype signed with the largest US carrier, I am here to tell you that less than 2 hours ago, Skype officially hit the Market. This time, the long-awaited app is no longer restricted to Verizon, so download away (Android 2.1+ required)!
Since Skype pulled their app from the Android Market, allowing access only for Verizon customers, the rest of us have been left wondering if we’ll see a Skype app re-appear on the market for all carriers.
Fortunately, Skatter Tech were wondering the exact same thing, and asked Skype for details on their future plans for Android. When asked about the availability of the app to users on all carriers, Brianna Reynaud from Skype PR answered
As promised, today at CTIA Wireless 2010 Skype launched its Skype Mobile application, available on select Verizon phones (Blackberry and all of Verizon's Android lineup - Droid, Droid Eris, Devour) because of an exclusive deal between the two companies.
Here are the features of the new application:
- make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype contact around the globe
- send and receive unlimited instant messages with other Skype users
- manage the Skype contact list directly from the mobile application
- call international phone numbers at competitive Skype calling rates
Skype Mobile promises to have an Always-On capability, so that you can be permanently logged in, similar to the Google Chat application that comes with every Android phone.