Get ready for some FaceTime the skype way “Hoo-ah!”
Skype is a phenomenon that’s been sweeping the globe for seven years now, everyone is aware of its existence yet some people are still reluctant or just plain lazy to adopt it. This Luxembourg based entity is the brain child of the very same people who made the word kaZaa (p2p) a staple among our online lingo eons ago.
With the release of Skype 3.0 video support is finally here and it’s remarkable; having already clocked hours on the app I feel in a way indebted to the giant blue cloud “S” logo that could grace a toddlers product line.
Upon the release of the iPhone4 and the FaceTime app I was elated, thinking that voice calls would soon be a thing of the past; something like a CRT TV, which is an eye sore off late.
But FaceTime did not deliver as intended for our region, and at best it graces ads for Apple Corp. And frankly, I’ve given up on the wonky incompatibility, some iPhone owners do not have FaceTime within the native app depending on where they’ve purchased their handsets while others like myself have to resort to VPN in fear of not wanting to subject “my precious” (iPhone4) to jailbreak.
So in comes Skype 3.0 which works across the board and all it requires is a free download from the AppStore, a signup which takes under five minutes if you do not have an existing account, and is more easily done through in-app as opposed to our PC’s, with no proxy restrictions (from Etisalat).
The app is compatible with iPod touch, iPad 3G, 3GS and iPhone4. It works flawlessly between windows and Mac OSX as well. Devices without a camera will only receive video feed from the other end.
Both portrait and landscape mode is supported; the front facing camera on the iPhone4 keeps auto-adjusting according to the light around you and the results show, where as the rear camera just shines. The new Retina Display makes things just stand out; colors, faces, lighting all look upscaled, which is partly due to having the video size also reduced to the native iPhone 4 screen size. So much so, in fact, that it makes a Macbook Pro display look dated. The GUI is intuitive and lets you know of users who have video support with an icon.
In the past I’ve done outlandish field tests on a prior release of Skype, where on holiday I was in a moving car going up a hill above sea level in stormy weather running on edge and was speaking to a friend on the Euro train using 3G and got a good 20 minutes of talk out of it, but none was as rewarding as using a 1mb connection on both ends 1000km or so away from each other speaking to my little nieces from the comfort of home and it never felt mechanical or devoid of life for a minute.
And so we award Skype 3.0 our App of the Week.