Over the past six weeks, Skype (www.skype.com) has announced new products and/or deals with Comcast, on Android, and with Facebook. Anything else?
At The Cable Show 2011, Skype and Comcast (www.comcast.com) announced that Comcast users would be able to lease Comcast hardware to enable Skype video calling on HDTV video sets. The service uses a little adopter box plus a customized remote to manage the Skype – and to-be-named-later apps – session to make and receive Skype video and audio calls, IM, and watch TV at the same time.
No price on the hardware has been set, but it kinda screams dead-end unless Skype is also going to offer/sell/promote this to other cable companies in the future.
Later, Skype released Skype for Android 2.0, enabling video calling over Android in the (closed) Skype universe. Support runs over Wi-Fi or 3G, with downloads free. Again, it’s nice, but with all U.S. wireless vendors except for Sprint rolling out data caps, I’m not sure how useful running video on a mobile phone actually is, unless you’re next to a power outlet.
To wrap up its summer of video, Skype announced a partnership with Facebook (www.facebook.com) enabling video chat within the Facebook environment. I think the embedded video message part is the most intriguing feature of this announcement since Facebook loads itself to asynchronous-ness communication. How it all plays out on the mobile environment will be interesting.
I suspect the Facebook announcement was the last of the group and we won’t hear any Big Deals for a while, given that Skype now has to finish being consumed by Microsoft.