Either the guys at Skype got the memo, or this was in the works all along, and they’re just a bit slow going about their business. Better late than never, right?

Just as Apple is gaining steam with its relatively new FaceTime video chat, here comes the blue elephant in the room. While I didn’t hesitate to give Skype a needed shellacking in a previous article, one thing’s for sure, if they get on the ball with mobile video chat, it could be a hard ball to stop.

Even with FaceTime continuing to gain footprint in various other areas with the upcoming iPad, and the recent desktop Beta release; all it would take is for Skype to release a decent competitor to make things interesting…

The cool thing with Skype is that it’s platform independent, meaning it’ll run on Android, Windows Mobile, iOS, your toaster, whatever. If Skype releases a competent product across all of those platforms, it would instantly be the reigning king in the mobile video chat arena.

Here are some details about the new Skype:

  • You can make Skype video calls by using a WiFi or 3G connection*. The quality of the video will depend upon the available network conditions.
  • If you have an iPhone or iPod touch with two cameras – front and rear – you will be able to switch between them during a Skype video call. If you have an iPhone 3GS it will always use the rear camera.
  • If you turn your device into landscape mode, the camera picture will automatically rotate.
  • In both portrait and landscape mode double tapping anywhere on your screen will zoom the picture to take up the full extent of the screen. Double tapping again will take the picture back to its normal size.
  • While on a Skype video call the sound will always be played through the loudspeaker, unless a headset is plugged into the device.

Sounds great, and it’s nice to see that even iPhone 3GS owners are shown some love here. No firm news on a release date yet, but CES is just a couple of weeks away… take that for what it’s worth.

Do you think this news spells doom for FaceTime?

[Engadget]