Skype started out as a means to talk to people all over the world either by text or by voice using nothing more than your computer, an internet connection, and their software. It quickly grew to include chat rooms, video calling, and even calling to and from land-line phones. The natural progression was to include many of the desktop functionalities in mobile the versions of the app.
Unfortunately, many of the more “useful” features of the desktop version have been excluded from the mobile versions of the app. Some features have slowly trickled in, and others have been available exclusively to one carrier or another.
Still absent is video calling, which is a fairly large hole in Skype’s mobile offering. So big is that hole that several other solutions have cropped up quickly to fill Skype’s short-coming: Qik, Fring, Yahoo! Messenger, Tango, FaceTime, and more come to mind. I have to assume that Skype is aware — painfully aware — of what they’re lacking in the mobile video arena.
This may all be changing. With CES just around the corner, Skype has launched a teaser site, WhatsNext.Skype.com, that hints at video features coming to mobile versions of its app. That’s the good news.
The bad news? It looks like this isn’t video calling, rather, it appears to be video sharing.
What’s video sharing? Basically, it’s YouTube; you record a video and upload it to a server. Some apps already let you do this and include other features like streaming (which uploads the video stream as its being recorded, rather than saving a file locally and uploading it to a server after-the-fact). Other apps let you record “video mail” much like we do email today.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see what Skype has to offer, I just hope it’s finally cross-platform video calling.