FaceTime doesn’t matter anymore.
When Skype finally listened to their customers and released the video calling feature with their latest update, it was truly a blessing in disguise. In case you didn’t know, one of iPhone 4’s most touted features, FaceTime, which allows free video calls between iOS4 (and Mac) users over WiFi, was taken out by Apple when the iPhone 4 launched within the Middle East region. This feature was sorely missed, but not for long as other apps, such as Tango, sprang up to allow video calling not only over WiFi but 3G and Edge as well. Sadly such apps could not really meet the high standards of FaceTime.
Not until Skype came along to save the day. After v3.0 launched on the App Store 2 days ago, literally everybody I know who knows an iPhone 4 downloaded/updated to v3.0. Skype on its own was a wonderful free app because of its brilliant quality over VOIP and the fact that people could communicate for free using their data plan while on the move. Although some people did feel the need for video calls, pretty much everybody was sort of quiet on the issue since iPhone 3GS didn’t have a front facing camera. Heck, many even wrote the lack of video calls on Skype as a technologically insurmountable feature. However, with FaceTime, pretty much the entire Skype community clamored for video calls.
Sure enough, after more than half a year since launching iOS4 devices, Skype has allowed video calls over WiFi and 3G. So the first thing I did was call up some folks in the family and some old friends whom I hadn’t talked to in a while. Firstly, it was nice to geek out with everybody over the iPhone 4; secondly it was good to finally catch up with some of them. It’s just much more convenient to video call people whenever one feels like, no matter the place, instead of taking some time out and sitting in front of the PC. I’m surprised, to be perfectly honest, that Apple allowed video calls on Skype, since they are known to take down apps that directly compete with their own apps on the App Store. I guess Skype was too big a name to say no to? No matter, everybody, especially people in the Middle East, will definitely welcome this new functionality and enjoy it till it lasts. While people on du will obviously have no problem, Etisalat users are still left in the dark. If only they unblock the ports for Skype on their 3G network…