Skype to bring video chat to Android, iPad app rumoured

People may well be having video chats in public and walking into telegraph poles, with Skype announcing an updated app for Android phones supporting video chat.

The anticipated update to Skype for Android mobile phones allows customers to use either the front-facing camera found on recent smartphones or rear camera to communicate over video to friends and family.

Currently, Skype's video support only works on some devices. On the left, the Google Nexus S shows video call support, while the Samsung Galaxy S2 on the right misses out.

Skype’s Product Manager Mark Douglas told us that the Skype team has “spent the time making sure that it hit the benchmarks” and that because there was “no generic support for front-facing cameras” in older versions of Android, this release was only for phones running Google Android 2.3 Gingerbread. At launch, we’ve been told that only the HTC Desire S, Google Nexus S (made by Samsung), and Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo and Pro are supported, though we expect that support for other 2.3-enabled devices is coming.

Outside of seeing if it works or not – it does – we haven’t had the chance to test the app in video chat with any of our friends. Our friends at Skype have, however, and tell us that the video calls consume about a meg per minute, so that’s something to be aware of when you’re on 3G.

As for tablets running Google’s Honeycomb version of Android, Douglas said that “Skype’s obviously trying to make their services available to all platforms,” but he couldn’t give us a release date as to when the app would find its way to the larger form factor.

Meanwhile, rumours are bubbling that a Skype app with support for the iPad 2 front-facing camera will be released in the next week. Skype wouldn’t comment on the rumour, but images of a Skype iPad app have surfaced over the past week.

Video chat is probably one of the most desired features on the iPad, and this week has already seen instant messaging and video chat service Fring release an iPad optimised app supporting the feature, something we expect will force Skype to follow up with shortly.