Skype had a significant update today. The VoIP giant rolled out video chat support for four Android-powered devices, and announced that there are plans in place to extend the new features to more devices “very soon.” Currently, HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro and Nexus S holders have access to the revamped app.
The update now allows holders of either of devices listed above to initiate and receive video calls from other Android devices, iPhones, Macs, Windows PCs and even connected TVs over WiFi and 3G. Further, the latest version of the app also comes with an overhauled interface that includes a status message box at the top of the menu and simplified negotiation through contacts.
Video chat is very important for Skype, as it records 30 million concurrent users on its platform at any given time. And at its peak, Skype reports 500k simultaneous videos across its service. Appealing to its users on all its supported access points, especially in an area that’s becoming standard for top tier mobile chat services, Skype really benefits from catching up its Android app at this point.
The iPhone version of the app has had video chatting capacities for quite some time now.
Skype will become a division of Microsoft as a part of an $8.5 billion deal expected to finalize by the end of the year, however some believe it might just be the start of a bigger Microsoft shopping spree; one that may eventfully include Nokia. A lot of Skype execs were dismissed from the company shortly after news broke of the deal, and according to WSJ that may reduce the value of the payout. The VoIP giant is working hard to prevent that, though, with the release of the Skypekit SDK and other recent developments.
In addition to the Microsoft deal, Skype is also focusing on keeping up with competition. There’s Google Voice, Nimbuzz and countless other startups that are looking to gain a name in the VoIP space. Among those is Fring, a first mobile app that features group video chat.