By Alice Straight, TMCnet Web Editor
Skype (News - Alert) will be offering an application to all Android handsets later this year, which will include a video chat feature. Currently Skype on Android (News - Alert) is limited to Verizon Wireless' handsets.
"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," the company said in a statement.
Fring, a Skype competitor, recently announced a new Android application that offers free video calling. Fring wraps together a number of services, such as Skype, MSN, ICQ, GTalk and other IM platforms into a single application.
"Since we launched our VoIP portfolio 10 years ago, we’ve seen steady growth reflecting customer desire for reliable, cost-effective IP voice services," said Mike Millegan, president of Verizon Global Wholesale, in a statement. “And, as this market grows, we continue to add new VoIP services while enhancing our existing portfolio.”
Verizon has added new applications such as short-duration calling systems for call centers and mass notification systems. The company also announced plans to add a more robust VoIP network interfaces in Europe later this year.
Also by the end of the year, Verizon expects to offer a VoIP-based feature that will enable its users to dispense with paper invoices and instead receive electronic invoices with call details included on them.
Verizon Wireless has forged a close relationship with Skype, the independent VoIP pacesetter, over the past few years.