Skype is in the process of beefing up its mobile teams and this could lead to apps which include video calling.
According to GigaOm, Skype is hiring 20-30 employees to improve its mobile engineering teams. As you know, the company already has a plethora of apps which will enable you to make free VoIP calls over WiFi and some versions can even utilize 3G networks to make these calls.
Video calling has been a staple of Skype on the desktop but it has been conspicuously absent from the mobile versions and the competition hasn’t been shy about trying to get the first-mover advantage. Phones like the EVO 4G and the myTouch 4G use the Qik app to utilize the front-facing camera for video calls, as do companies like Fringe.
Perhaps the largest push for mobile video calling in the mainstream is coming from Apple and its FaceTime on the iPhone 4 and the iPod touch. The FaceTime app currently only works with Apple products but the company still insists that it will be opened up to third parities.
The other question that’s remaining is how Skype will position its apps. The VoIP-calling company signed an exclusive deal with Verizon earlier this year and this provided an app which used Big Red’s network to deliver a stronger mobile voice experience.
Could Skype sign another agreement with a carrier to bring its video-calling exclusively to a single mobile operator for a certain window? I don’t think this is the best option but I could see it being valuable in the short term, particularly as Skype is becoming its own company out of eBay’s shadow.
Other companies won’t rest, as Tango has just released a new app which will provide video calling between the iPhone, Android and potentially other platforms. The competition is definitely heating up.