According to a report by Skattertech, Skype will be bringing video calling to all Android handsets by the end of this year, finally providing an official (video enabled) client for the mobile OS.
The decision to release a video app will also provide direct competition to services like Qik who have struck deals to bring their service to the latest Android smartphones, most notably the HTC Evo.
Until recently, Skype on Android (and Blackberry) was only available if you were a Verizon customer. Whilst Skype’s partnership with Verizon was ground-breaking, its first alliance with a cellular carrier, it meant that owners of either device would have to seek Skype functionality by way of a third-party service like Fring or Nimbuzz.
Skattertech’s Sahas Katta fired a couple of emails to Skype’s PR team regarding Skype’s plans to rival services like Qik and received the following response:
Skype envisions a world where video plays a larger role in the way we communicate. The next generation innovation involving video calling will not be bound to the computer. We’re seeing a proliferation of video calling shared between all kinds of connected devices. It’s on computers (today 1/3 of all calls on Skype happen via video), televisions (Skype bringing video calls to living rooms via Panasonic, Samsung & LG partnership), and it will eventually be coming to mobile devices too. We’re betting big on video, and we intend to set the bar on mobile video calling, and it’s something we’re going to do this year.
We will be bringing a direct to consumer app to the Android marketplace later this year. This application will be available for all consumers globally to download regardless of carriers. (i.e. similar to how we offer the iPhone app today)
– Brianna Reynaud, Skype PR
Everyone loves a bit of competition, especially when it means the big boys get involved. Not only is it going to make Qik want to innovate its product and/or service, you could see Apple watching proceedings very closely. The iPhone 4G is rumoured to have a front facing camera, will they allow Skype (and Qik) to access it?