Microsoft could be working on a new video calling application for the Windows Phone platform – similar to the FaceTime app on iOS. According to a Microsoft executive present at the Consumer Electronics Show, this was one future in the future roadmap for Windows Phone. While it is not clear if Microsoft could be making this functionality available on the existing Windows Phone 7 platform, there are indications that such a functionality could be made available on WP8.
Interestingly, the executive is also reported to have claimed that Windows Phone 8 platform could only be compatible with devices equipped with a front camera. What this means is that existing Windows Phone users with devices like HTC Mozart and Samsung Omnia 7 may not be able to run the upcoming Windows Phone platform on their existing devices. That could be a huge deal-breaker for the early adopters.
After rolling out group video calling to consumer clients on desktop and mobile platforms, Skype has now rolled out the feature to the Business version of the VoIP service. The new feature will allow 3 to 10 business users to connect via Skype to engage in video conferencing. The Business version of Skype lets enterprise administrators to deploy Skype to employees besides turning on or off the various features that Skype comes with. The group video calling feature is available on Skype Business accounts at a price of $8.99 per user per month. Long term subscription plans also come at a discounted price.
Skype has also revealed a few other interesting details in their media report. They note that 37% of Skype users have used the service for a business purpose at least once. Also, 41.5% of Skype minutes in the second half of 2010 was consumed by group video calling. Quite clearly, Skype sees a lot of promise in this new feature in 2011.
Looks like we were right in our speculation. Earlier this month, there were reports that Skype was calling up for a media interaction on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show getting underway early next month. We had speculated that this interaction could be to introduce users to video calling functionalities on the next version of Skype’s iPhone app.
In fact, Skype is learned to have signed up for a panel discussion titled “Video Calling Gets Ready For Primetime” as well as has told a number of industry observers that the company will be making a number of video related announcements.
Now, a freshly drafted Skype help document has become public that indicates that a new Skype iPhone app version 3.0 could be rolled out soon that could bring video calling features to iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 3G/4G and the iPad. It is worth noting that the current version of Skype app on the App Store is numbered 2.1.2.
So there you go. Get ready to start video calling your friends via your iPhone soon.
As of now, the only mobile phone that can make video calls over Skype is the Nokia N900. If you are the owner of an iPhone, Android or any other smartphone, you are unfortunately out of luck since Skype video calling is still not available on these devices.
That could possibly change soon. According to reports, Skype has called up for a media gathering on January 6, 2011 on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show. Speculations are rife that Skype could be announcing a new mobile application for a number of platforms like the iOS and Android that will come equipped with video calling functionalities.
To be fair, there is nothing explicitly mentioned in the invitation itself and this is just a speculation based on the invitation list that includes blogs focusing on Android platform. So if anything, at least something big for Android is on the cards. So keep watching out.
Following the release of group video calling on Windows PC in September this year, Skype has now introduced the functionality on the Mac. The new Skype 5.0 for Mac is now available for download in public beta and comes with a number of new features besides support for video calling.
Most importantly, the user interface seems to be reworked quite a bit. The contacts address book is now available as a floating bar for easy access and it is also integrated with the Mac address book. There is also a new calling bar that makes it easy to hang up the call from any screen. If you are a user with a pretty weak internet connection, you should also happy about the new auto-reconnect feature.
But group video calling is definitely the highlight of this new download. You can watch a demo of the application in the video embedded below. Click here for the download link and here for the latest from Skype.
Apple has been taking on Skype with their new FaceTime video calling feature. In that case, it only makes sense for the company to bring in the group video calling feature that has been introduced in the latest version of Skype, right? Developers looking into the iOS firmware have stumbled upon a piece of code referencing FaceTime that reads,
What this could mean is that jailbreakers could now bring in new copies of iOS firmware that could set this function to ‘true‘ that could let jailbroken iPhone users to do group video calling from FaceTime rightaway. Anyway, it is still unclear whether Apple would bring this functionality to the iPhone anytime now. We have heard recently about the company’s plans to introduce FaceTime on the Windows and Mac platforms. Considering that the iChat tool on Mac already supports group chatting, it is possible that Apple may set this function to true on the desktop computers while retaining the two-way chat for the iPhone. What do you think?
Never mind which smartphone you are toting. If you are looking for a way to video chat with your friends on a desktop PC or Mac, here is a simple and free application that will get the job done. Movicha; acronym for Mobile Video Chat, is an application that is available for the iOS, Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, OS X and Windows platforms that lets users on one of these platforms video chat with other users on one of these compatible platforms. Blackberry OS is expected to be supported soon which means almost all of the smartphone segment is covered.
According to the developers,
iMovicha supports multiple operating systems in mobile and laptop platforms. Video call can either be mobile-to-mobile or laptop-to-mobile or laptop-to-laptop. iMovicha key features: Video Calling, Voice Calling, IM, Presence Group Management, Contact Management, Preference Management
While this application is free to download, do remember that iOS users will need a jailbroken iDevice. Nevertheless, this is a pretty interesting application that you can check out by visiting the website here.
Skype is without doubt one of the most lovely bits of VoIP software that help you connect with friends and family around the world. However until video calling was not possible when you had more than two users connecting to the chat. Consequently, group conferencing always had to be audio-only.
Now, Skype has announced that this is changing with the release of the latest beta version of the Skype software. The new Skype Beta 5.0 for Windows can connect upto 10 callers via video. However, to enable this, all users need to have this latest beta version installed on their machines. What’s more, this software currently works only on Windows.
Skype has warned that this is still a beta release and so you can expect the occasional bugs. Nevertheless, if this new group video conferencing feature on Skype has already got you excited, head over to the download page and start chattering.
Video chat and calling facilities may become possible with the next generation of iPhone. Speculations about this have been flying thick and fast since Apple’s UK carrier partner O2 accidentally revealed the price plans for the iPhone on their website which includes prices for “UK video calls“.
We have not heard from O2 so far about this, but considering the consistent slip-ups from Apple’s partners in the past few months, O2 is sure to hear a mouthful from Steve Jobs. You might recall that T-Mobile Germany had revealed prices of the iPad much earlier than the device was unveiled embarassing Cupertino.
Having said that, this could as well be a genuine typo. But what do you think? Is this for real?
[FunkySpace Monkey via ZDNET]