If you are one of the few thousand people who own a Nokia N900, then sometime later this week Skype is going to offer you a ability to make two-way video calls on that device. You would be able to call any Skype user (whether on desktop or laptop) and have a two-way video communication, Russ Shaw, Skype’s vice president of Skype Mobile told GigaOM. Eventually you will be able to call other mobile clients and also to Skype-on-TV.
Shaw said that it was part of their ongoing close relationship with Nokia. Nokia N900 has dual cameras — one in the front and one in the back. The calls would work on both 3G and WiFi networks, though I bet the performance is going to be far superior on WiFi. Some of the smaller VoIP players such as Fring have already launched video calling enabled apps.
“We are going to do video calling across all our platforms and are agnostic about the operating system and carriers,” Shaw said. In other words, if the new iPhone (version 4) features dual cameras, then Skype is going to make its software work with iPhone. In a recent poll conducted by the company, an overwhelming 43 percent of Skype users said that they wanted mobile video.
Ironically, on Friday afternoon when I spoke to Shaw, he was unclear when company would launch its Skype-over-3G app for the iPhone, arguing that the company didn’t want to release any product that disappointed customers. And 24-hours later the app was available from the Apple’s iTunes App store. (For now these calls are free but eventually Skype is going to be charging folks for calls over 3G, which tells me they are using a solution very similar to the one they cobbled together for Skype-over-Verizon. For an alternate explanation, check out Andy Abramson’s post who thinks the magic is Skype’s SILK codec and working intimately with Apple hardware.)
Shaw said that the company was focused on seamless switching between 3G and WiFi. Anyway that app seems to have met its goals, prompting even their harsh critics to give it a thumbs up. Skype data shows that the company has seen 12 million downloads from the owners of iPhone and iPod Touch.
Shaw also confirmed that the official Android Skype app will be available before the end of the year. Skype was focusing on iPhone, Symbian and Android OS devices, Shaw said. In other words, Windows Phone and WebOS don’t figure in the company’s plans for now. “We are not doing anything directly on Palm but if a carrier wanted to do that, we can work with them,” he said. It was part of company’s strategy to take a cue from carriers on operating systems with a smaller footprint compared to the big three.
What about RIM? Shaw said that a lot of people want an over-the-top application. Verizon subscribers can get Skype on their Blackberry devices, thanks to a special relationship between the two companies. In other words, for now, all Blackberry owners who want Skype are out of luck.