Right now, the only Skype client available to Android handsets is solely through Verizon Wireless. That's about to change, as Skype recently promised to make Skype available to all Android handsets. What's more, Skype said it intends to "set the bar" for mobile-to-mobile video calls.The Skype application for Android handsets is pretty good. Voice call quality is actually quite excellent. It's so good because Verizon Wireless mandated that the app use its voice network rather than the VoIP tech that Skype normally uses for voice calls. In fact, the Skype app for Android shuts off the Wi-Fi radio to make sure calls transit Verizon's voice network.
But it doesn't offer video calling from the handset. The new Fring application does.
Fring for Android, which ties together a number of different messaging services, offers free video calls over an Android device's internet connection. According to Fring, the application supports two-way video calls on all capable devices. Those Android handsets that are limited to one camera will require users to flip it around so the camera faces them, which sort of kills the fun since you won't be able to see the person with whom you're conversing. Still, it's free, and it works.
Skype fired back with a statement that sounds pretty encouraging. A Skype representative said, "Skype envisions a world where video plays a larger role in the way we communicate. It's on computers, televisions, and it will eventually be coming to mobile devices too. We're betting big on video, and we intend to set the bar on mobile video calling, and it's something we're going to do this year. We will be bringing a direct to consumer app to the Android marketplace later this year. This application will be available for all consumers globally to download regardless of carriers."
Translation: Skype's Android client will be available for everyone this year, and will rock the video calling. Sweet!