Jan. 6, 2011 at 3:43 PM ET
Skype, which recently brought its free video calling program to the iPhone, now may be able to do the same for Android phones. The company said Thursday it's buying Qik, a popular mobile video-capturing, -sharing and -calling program.
Qik recently added two-way, live video chats for fourth-generation, or 4G, Android phones such as Sprint's HTC Evoand Samsung Epic, and T-Mobile's myTouch (which already does video calls using both Wi-Fi and T-Mobile's network), as well as for Samsung's Android-based Galaxy Tab tablet.
Meanwhle, "Our development teams are busy getting Video Chat ready on additional phones," Qik says on its site.
There are many phones that Qik's video-sharing program already works with; a list is here. The company went from about 600,000 users at the start of last year to 5 million users at the end of 2010.
Fring for Android is one free programthat already gives Android phone users a video calling option. And Google's 3.0 version of Android, known as "Honeycomb" will include support for video calling in the Google Talk app.
Skype made its announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The company said that video calling represented 41.5 percent of all Skype-to-Skype minutes in the second half of 2010.
“The Qik team has delivered exceptional video experiences for its mobile partners and millions of end users across a range of devices,” said Tony Bates, Skype’s CEO in a press release. "Skype’s software enables an estimated 25 percent of the world’s international long distance voice calling minutes, and approximately 40 percent of those Skype-to-Skype calls are happening over video. Qik’s deep engineering capabilities and strong mobile relationships will be an impressive complementary fit with Skype.”