While this deal isn’t as mind-blowing as AT&T planning to buy T-Mobile, it’s still pretty insane. What you’ve read above in the title is correct– Microsoft has just bought Skype for a crazy $8.5 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “B”). With the amount of people who use Skype constantly it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out just how huge this deal could be on a whole bunch of levels, but let’s focus on what you really care about: what exactly this all means for you.
On The Microsoft Side
It seems that every big company has their own video chatting service– Apple has FaceTime, Google has Google Talk, and even Microsoft has had one with Windows Live Messenger– with all these companies investing a whole lot to make sure that when you and your friends video chat it’s on their service. This Skype deal will give Microsoft a significant advantage in this game. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Microsoft announce a whole bunch of new Skype apps for Windows Phone 7 (which was already said to be getting a Skype app pretty soon) and Xbox 360 Kinect that makes video chatting from your phone or couch a whole lot easier and better (and yes we know that means that Microsoft will need some new Windows Phone 7 phones with front cameras for video chatting– they also announced yesterday that the next version of Windows Phone 7 will be shown off at the end of the month, and we expect more on this there).
This is great news for anyone with a Kinect or wants a Windows Phone.
For Mac, Android, iPhone and Everyone Else
While this looks to be a great move for Microsoft users, the biggest concern with all of this is for anyone using or planning to use Skype on something like Mac OS X, iPhone/iPad/iTouch or Android. If you’re concerned about all of a sudden losing access to Skype (or Qik, which Skype bought a few months back), don’t be. For this Skype deal to be successful Microsoft will want you to be using their service over the competition (FaceTime, Google Talk etc.) particularly when your on a non-Microsoft product. Sure if we had to guess Microsoft will add certain features to the Windows Phone and Windows PC Skypes before making them available on the other platforms, but rest assured– Microsoft has said that they “will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.”
This mobile video chatting game is getting very intense very quickly– and we can’t wait to see what Apple, Google and all the other competitors come up with next to fight off this new powerful MicroSkype. Stay tuned!
As expected, Apple took the wraps off some incredible new MacBook Pros today– and by incredible we do mean incredible. We’re talking much faster, and much, much more powerful that if your looking for a new computer you’re gonna wanna know about. So what you waiting for? We got everything you’re gonna want and need to know about them after the break!
Skype video calling– now from your iPhone and iTouch (Pic from Skype)
We’re not gonna lie, we thought it wouldn’t come till at least next week at CES– but, hey, who are we to complain when something awesome happens early! Yes, you read that headline right– Skype video calling from the iPhone 4, 4th gen iPod Touch and iPhone 3GS (though obviously here only using the back camera) is now live— with video calling over WiFi and 3G!
As we wrote last week, you can also grab the update for your camera-less iPad or 3rd gen iPod Touch (running iOS 4.0 or later) and still be able to do one-way video chats with friends using Skype on their phone, PC or Mac– so don’t feel too bad iPad and 3rd gen iTouch owners.
Anyways, back to the app. In our brief hands-on with the updated app we found it worked really well. Video quality over 3G and WiFi from our iPhone 4 to our PC was very good— not perfect but very, very good (particularly for a phone), with sound coming in fine as well. There didn’t even seem to be too much of a lag between what we were doing and what was showing up on our PC, and you can even share a screen from a PC/Mac to the iPhone. One downside we noticed so far: multitasking while video chatting. If you leave the video chat while it’s going on– say, to look something up on Safari or respond to a text– the video on your end freezes to how you were when you tapped that Home button. The conversation still goes on through audio like it would on any call so you’re not dropping the connection– and the video quickly picked up when we came back to the app– but this could still be a little annoying for some. Oh, and constant use of this will also probably kill your battery life really quickly.
All in all, Skype is finally what we all were hoping for once Apple released the iPhone 4 and 4th gen iPod Touch– offering true video chat on the go while raising the bar for Apple if they want Facetime to ever be successful. Let’s just hope Skype next week spreads the mobile video chat love to Android and other mobile OSes.
The new Skype app for iOS is available now for free in the App Store— and make sure to let us know what you think of the new app in the comments.
So we covered the new MacBook Air, but what about everything else Apple introduced? Well, we’ve got that fully covered here. Apple was pretty busy with a whole bunch of other cool stuff, including that new iLife ’11, the next version of OS X called Lion, and even the announcement to bring FaceTime to the Mac. We’ve got the whole thing covered for you after the break, so read on!
Yeah, you’re gonna wanna read on.
We know today was going to be a big day for Apple, and boy did they not disappoint. Apple gave the pretty much the whole iPod line a refresh (except for the Classic which appears to be on its last legs)– and all look really, really nice. We got the whole round-up and breakdown of what you need to know about Apple’s Fall Event after the break, so read on!