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Skype developers kit could turn every gadget into a free phone

Skype's new SDK could bring voice-over-IP calls to everything from TVs to toilets, and developers can apply to the beta program as of today

Skype, the VoIP king, has opened a beta for its software-development kit. It's called SkypeKit, and the idea is to make any gadget with an Internet connection capable of Skype video and voice calling.

The first version of the SDK is aimed at device manufacturers that want to stick calling capability into their gadgets. We're hoping that it will kick-start Skype for Android phones, since Skype Lite is no longer available in the Android Market, leaving HTC Hero users on the 3 network the only ones with access to Skype on Android. But it could also lead to Skype appearing in unexpected places such as sat-navs, TVs and in-car computers.

SkypeKit will later be extended to target software developers who want to add Skype features to their applications and Web sites.

Skype's put a few public APIs out there already, but they're for connecting accessories like headsets and webcams to the Skype client on your desktop PC. The new SDK works without a Skype desktop application, so the calling function can be integrated more deeply into a device. 

If you're the coding kind and you're keen to get started, you can apply for an invite to the SkypeKit beta on the Skype Web site from today.