At CES 2011, Skype announced that they would be launching Skype with Video Chat on one of HTC’s flagship phones, the Thunderbolt on Verizon Wireless. Up until that point, the only way to Skype on Android phones was either text chat or audio but no video. As we know, aside from a late release on the phone, Skype Video never came to fruition. They kept promising an update but nothing was in sight. This lack of urgency caused me, a Thunderbolt owner, to look at other video chat options like ooVoo, Qik (which is actually Skype owned) and Tango. However, with the millions of users on Skype it was hard for me to convince other people to switch just because I couldn’t get it on my phone. Well Skype heard my plea..kind of.
Yesterday, Skype updated their Android app to include Skype Video Chat for 4 phones: HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro and the Google Nexus S. Skype’s VP and general manager of product and marketing, Neil Stevens said:
“We are committed to bring Skype Video Calling to as many platforms as possible and are delighted to deliver on this with our new updated Skype for Android app. With approximately 30 million concurrent users logging into Skype at any given time and making up to half a million simultaneous video calls, Skype for Android with video makes it even easier for users to share moments with their contacts wherever they are.”
The list of the phones do indicate an important piece to the puzzle: Gingerbread. It seems that Skype is supporting video chat with operating systems that are at least 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) or higher. This is the same avenue Google took when they released video chat with Google Talk. Personally, I find it interesting that Skype had an exclusive agreement with Verizon Wireless and Skype also released video chat for two Sony Ericsson phones, but Verizon’s Sony Xperia Play is not on this list. I would think that would be one of the first phones to support (it truly needs another selling point). Of course, there are developer hacked Skype apps you can download to get video chat but personally this seems like a product I would want directly from the source. If you have any of these phones and have tried out Skype with Video, let us know!!