Just a few moments ago, the team at Droid-Life published a leaked copy of an upcoming version of Skype for Android with video calling support. The app was originally mentioned at the Verizon Wireless press conference at CES 2011, but has yet to make a debut. Although Skype has been available on Android for the past six months, the latest stable release only supports voice calls and chatting.
Today’s leak is specific to the brand new HTC Thunderbolt, but the performance is nothing less than spectacular. I spent a few minutes testing the app with Sharath Shroff, another Skatter Tech reporter, and the quality was great over both Verizon Wireless 4G LTE and WiFi.
Although I look forward to a high quality video calls with mobile devices, most service still feel quite primitive. Qik made a debut last year, but it required holding down a microphone key to respond, much like a walkie-talkie. Updates improved the service with a hands free experience, but video still lags and audio is generally choppy even on a fast network. My experience with Fring is not any better. Tango makes the cross-platform experience convenient with clients for both iOS and Android, but the service still has the same flaws when it comes to audio and video quality.
My hopes were not too high with a leaked build of Skype, but I was proven wrong. After a few seconds into a call, video quickly optimized to present a sharp picture. There was little lag and movement was actually smooth. The audio was loud and clear. I could even see the audio synchronized to the caller’s lips in the video, which is quite impressive for a mobile device. It was even more excited to realize that the performance was nearly identical over both my residential WiFi network and Verizon Wireless 4G LTE. The person on the other end even claimed that the video quality was almost equivalent to the webcam built into my laptop. Switching over to the rear-facing camera also worked wonders.
We will keep an eye out for an official announcement and provide more details when available. Feel free to subscribe to stay updated with the latest dose of tech.