In an email to a Skype customer inquiry, video chat service Skype hinted that the company’s video chat app for Verizon Wireless is completed or near completion and that the app would be delivered directly from Verizon Wireless. The two companies had announced a close partnership at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year where Verizon devices, especially the 4G LTE compatible Android smartphones, would come with Skype video calling with deep integration into the Android OS.
A final release date for the app or when it will be available was not given by Skype, but with customer service addressing concerns, hopefully the app will be available soon for early adopters of the HTC Thunderbolt who had hoped that Skype video calling would come pre-loaded on the 4G LTE smartphone with a front-facing camera. With 4G LTE speeds, which Verizon claims to be up to 10 times faster than 3G speeds, video calling should be smooth on the network.
Skype integration will definitely help Verizon and Android compete against the seamless video chat service introduced by Apple called FaceTime, which allows iOS and Mac OS X users hold video conferences with each other. Though video calls have been available on a number of platforms in the past through third-party services, they are clunky, require that all parties reside on the same chat service and have log-ins, and may even require users to be logged into the app for the call to happen, negating the usefulness of an impromptu video calling or chatting session like a typical phone call. With Skype integration, and with Skype’s large user base, these issues would be mitigated, if not eliminated. The problem, though, is awaiting for Skype to release the app to other Android users outside of Verizon’s network.