Facebook Video Chat– coming soon to the iPhone?
With Facebook Video Chat having been available for Windows and Mac for almost a year now, it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before they brought the feature over to their mobile apps. And according to the site 9to5Mac, that time is finally almost here.
The folks over at 9to5Mac have gotten a sneak peak at a beta for an upcoming update to Facebook’s Messenger app for iPhone. In addition to the usual bug-fixes and performance improvements expected in a normal update they found this: the ability to make Skype Video Chats right from your iPhone/iPod Touch just like you already can from your computer. Making a video call is pretty simple too– if the person who you’re talking to is at their computer or on iPhone/iTouch you’ll see a blue arrow next to their name. Tap that arrow and you’re calling them.
9to5Mac also says that Facebook has a similar update planned for the Android version of the Messenger app (as well as a version of the Messenger app for the iPad), but that will probably come after the iPhone gets its update this summer.
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!
This has been one of the biggest things anyone with an iPhone 4 or 4th gen iPod Touch have been waiting for– the ability to make video calls from your iDevice to anyone, anywhere on Skype. Today, Engadget got hold of a “Help” document from the Skype site detailing this long-awaited feature, which if we had to guess, we’d probably here a lot more of in the coming weeks at the big CES show in Vegas in 2 weeks.
Now what can we expect in this new app? Well, looking through the now pulled doc.\, we came across this awesome little bit of info:
The quality of the video you send and receive from your iPhone will depend upon the quality and bandwidth available on the WiFi or 3G network you are connected to (emphasis ours).
Yes, this is 3G video calling– something Apple’s own Facetime can’t yet do (though Apple did say it was coming in 2011). There also is mention of video chat working on the iDevices that lack front cameras like the iPad, iPhone 3GS (which will use the rear camera) and older 3rd generation iPod Touch as long as they have iOS 4.0 or later– meaning you can even have one way video chats on your older iDevice (which is also quite awesome that they’re spreading the video chat love).
And just one other little rumor to throw out there– could Skype for iPhone video calling have anything to do with Skype and Verizon’s big agreement and a Verizon iPhone being finally on the way? Looking through this doc, I did come across some interesting lines of text–
wapl_referenceKey=SKYPE_FOR_IPHONE&wapl_referenceKeyDesc=Skype Mobile For Verizon
which weren’t on the normal source version of the current Skype page for the iPhone.
Let’s hope all of this is answered soon, but in the meantime check out the doc for yourself here (note: the page is in text as Skype pulled the full-page after it all got leaked. When you web browser asks you what to open the .php file in choose Internet Explorer or other web browser).