Skype for Android gets video calling

Users will be able to make free one-to-one video calls over Skype to other Android handsets, as well as iPhones, computers, and TVs that support the company's platform.

Video chatting has now made its way to Skype's Android app.
Video chatting has now made its way to Skype's Android app. Screen capture by Don Reisinger/CNET

Video chatting has made its way to Skype's Android app, the VoIP provider announced today.

Video is extremely important in the Skype ecosystem. At any given time, there are 30 million concurrent users on Skype, according to Skype vice president and general manager of product and marketing, Neil Stevens. At its peak, Skype sees 500,000 simultaneous video calls across its service.

When users download the free Skype for Android 2.0, they'll find that they can place or receive video calls with owners of other Android handsets, as well as those who use the platform on their iPhone, Mac, Windows PC, or television. According to Skype, users can have video chats over both Wi-Fi and 3G.

Aside from video calling, Skype has also completely redesigned its Android user interface with the goal of helping users more easily navigate through contacts. The company has also added a "new mood message box" at the top of the app's menu to let users share their current feelings or "what they're up to."

But before all you Android handset owners jump to the Android Market to download the improved app, note that there is something of a catch. According to Skype, only the HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro, and the Google Nexus S support video calling. Skype said in a blog post that it plans to support more devices "very soon."

Skype's latest app release comes during a transitional time for the company. Last month, Microsoft announced plans to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion . If the deal gains regulatory approval by the end of this year, as expected, the VoIP provider will become its own division at Microsoft under the leadership of its current CEO Tony Bates.

 

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