Today's been a pretty big day for Skype: first they acquired Qik, and now they've announced that they'll be bringing video calling to a number of Verizon's 4G Android devices. The new version of Skype will see deep integration into Verizon's products and will be able to take advantage of both the rear and front cameras found on the devices. Most importantly, the service will allow users to make video calls over Verizon's LTE network. Devices capable of using Skype's video calling feature are expected to arrive by mid-2011. The full press release can be read below.
Apple introduced its own video chat solution, aka Facetime, last year, but many users have criticized it because it only works over a WiFi connection. While I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple change that in the future, right now Skype's video chat is going to attract a lot of users because it can be used over Verizon's 4G network. Still, video chat has been available in Europe for some time and hasn't ever really caught on, so it remains to be seen how it'll fare here in the U.S. Would any of you use video chat over 4G on a semi-regular basis, or do you see it more as a novelty?
SKYPE MOBILE TO BRING VIDEO CALLING TO THE VERIZON WIRELESS 4G LTE NETWORK
Get Ready to Choose 4G LTE Smartphones to Make Video Calls to Friends and Family Around the World
LAS VEGAS; BASKING RIDGE, N.J.; and LUXEMBOURG – From the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Verizon Wireless and Skype said today that Skype mobile™ with video will soon be available on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network. This new version of Skype mobile from Verizon Wireless will be deeply integrated into a wide range of 4G smartphones to be available by mid-2011. With front- and rear-facing cameras, these Android-based 4G LTE smartphones will make it simple for customers to make Skype-to-Skype video calls over Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network.
Customers will be able to see and hear their friends and family when making or receiving Skype-to-Skype video calls on Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network, the fastest and most advanced 4G network in the nation. The new offer expands Skype’s video calling capabilities for millions and provides a great video experience using the speed, low-latency and quality of Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE wireless network.
“Skype mobile with video is the kind of application that truly shows off what a 4G network can mean to consumers. Keeping in touch with friends and family will be more enjoyable because video calling over the fastest and most advanced 4G network is coming. Finally, using Skype mobile with video, ‘you can see what I see, and I can see what you see’ becomes reality, and it’s because of the combination of Skype and Verizon Wireless – and our 4G LTE network,” said Marni Walden, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless.
“We heard the demand for mobile video calling loud and clear from our users and are delighted to meet this demand with a mobile video calling product that takes advantage of Verizon Wireless’ new network in the U.S.,” said Russ Shaw, general manager and vice president of Skype’s Mobile Business Unit. “Skype mobile with video will enable Verizon Wireless and Skype users to share special moments face to face with those who matter most – from wherever they may be.”
Consumer devices with a wide range of applications, including Skype mobile with video, are expected to be available by mid-2011. The low-latency of the 4G LTE network makes it ideal for video calling and chatting across the room to another wireless phone or around the world to a PC or Mac.
The Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network, launched in December 2010, is the fastest, most advanced 4G network in the United States, providing speeds up to 10 times faster than Verizon Wireless’ 3G network. Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network currently reaches one-third of all Americans, with plans to expand the network to the company’s entire 3G coverage area over the next three years.
Skype mobile with video represents the next phase in the strategic relationship between the two companies, which began last year when Verizon Wireless and Skype launched the initial version of Skype mobile for Verizon Wireless customers. Skype mobile continues to provide customers with Skype-to-Skype voice calls over Verizon Wireless’ leading network.
More details on Skype mobile with video will be available at CES in Verizon Wireless’ booth (#35216 in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center).
For more information about Verizon Wireless’ 4G LTE network, visit www.verizonwireless.com/lte, www.verizonwireless.com/ces or follow the company at http://twitter.com/verizonwireless.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s fastest and most advanced 4G network and largest and most reliable 3G network, and serves more than 93 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 80,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
Skype is a communications platform provider whose purpose is to break down barriers to communication. With an Internet-connected device, families, friends and colleagues can get together for free with messaging, voice and video. At low cost, they can also call landlines or mobiles virtually anywhere in the world. Skype has recently introduced group video, allowing groups of more than two people to do things together whenever they’re apart.
Founded in 2003 and based in Luxembourg. Skype can be downloaded onto computers, mobile phones and other connected devices for free at www.skype.com.
You can get news and updates from Skype on its blog: blogs.skype.com Twitter: twitter.com/skype or Facebook: www.facebook.com/skype.