Skype is already available on a number of mobile devices, but it could find its mobile apps’ footprint expand in the near future, as the company is aggressively hiring iOS and Android mobile developers. After we received a tip that it was adding new hires, a Skype spokesperson confirmed Thursday that the company is in the process of hiring 20-30 new members of its mobile engineering team.
Skype has mobile apps available on the Apple iPhone, as well as BlackBerry and Android mobile handsets available from Verizon. But the voice and video chat provider could be looking to add features and expand the number of mobile devices its service can run on, based on the number of developers the company is looking to add to its team.
Skype’s mobile apps enable users to call and message each other over Wi-Fi and 3G networks, but one thing missing from the company’s mobile apps is the ability to video chat with other mobile and desktop users. Although about 40 percent of all Skype calls include video, the company has been slow to add video chat to its mobile apps.
While Skype was dragging its feet on making its video chat service available on mobile devices, a number of competing services have emerged that let users with front-facing cameras — like the iPhone 4 or the HTC Evo — video chat with each other. Apple introduced its proprietary FaceTime mobile chat technology with the launch of the iPhone 4, and recently made the application available to Mac users. Meanwhile, a new startup called Tango has introduced a cross-platform video chat app that works on both iOS and Android mobile devices.
The mobile hiring binge comes as Skype makes broader additions to its headcount in Silicon Valley, now that it is independent of eBay. Skype’s Silicon Valley team currently has about 110 employees, 80 of which are engineers, according to its spokesperson. Those Silicon Valley employees are moving into a brand-new, 90,000-square foot office in Palo Alto, Calif next week. The company is growing fast, and expects to increase headcount by 350 employees by the end of 2011, with the bulk of those hires happening in Silicon Valley.
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