Skype Brings Free Video Calling to iPhone

Nothing in your little world will ever be the same

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Eons from now, historians will divide human civilization into three distinct periods: the hunter-gatherer era before the agrarian revolution of 10,000 B.C., the "Dark Ages" from then through now, and the new epoch we enter today as Skype announces its iPhone app, which will allow free video phone calls. iPhone owners can use Skype, an Internet-based free video phone service, to call other iPhone owners who have Skype. To announce its new product, Skype has produced a YouTube video of a man dancing in his underwear. Currently, tech blog aggregator site Techmeme only lists 84 tech sites and blogs covering the story, but we assume that number will skyrocket once news of The Revolution spreads throughout the world. Here's what a few of those 84 tech writers are saying.

  • 'D-Day' for Video Calling  TechCrunch's Leena Rao announces, "D-Day has arrived." Rao adds, "2011 should be a big year for Skype, as the company prepares for an IPO in the next year. With this event looming ahead, Skype has been working to expand usage of its service through enterprise offerings and new product development (i.e. Facebook integration). And we know Skype is going to make a big push to the cloud in 2011, possibly launching a web-based service early in the year."
  • The 'Crown Jewel'  Engadget's Chris Ziegler calls this a "crown jewel service" for the phone because the "service is free and works over both WiFi and 3G--and considering Skype's existing PC footprint, we'd argue this stands a very real chance of putting the hurt on FaceTime usage. No word on when Skype will be making video-capable clients available for Android or other mobile platforms, but Skype says that there'll be "plenty more" announcements in Vegas next week, so we wouldn't be surprised."
  • Will Increase Skype's Importance to Communication  ReadWriteWeb's Audrey Watters writes, "As the response to Skype's recent outage demonstrated, the service has become an important communication tool - for both professional and personal reasons. Skype says there are approximately 25 million concurrent users logged into Skype at any given time. And video-calling makes up more and more of that usage."
  • Testing iPhone Skype in Bed  Get your mind out of the gutter--bed was just the most convenient place for Skype Journal's Phil Wolff to test out the app. " I spent an hour in bed with James Body. Starting about midnight my time, 8 in the morning in the UK." He says the "resolution was low," the "latency was great," the sound was just OK, and the battery life is a concern. "An hour of video calling used 40% of James' phone's full charge. That puts a crimp in using Skype for video calls while away from an outlet."
  • Risks Overloading the 3G Call Network, Mashable's Ben Parr warns. "This is in stark contrast to Apple’s Facetime video chat protocol, which only works via Wi-Fi. Is AT&T about to let Apple do video calls over 3G, or will Skype overload an already-strained AT&T network?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.