Today, Comcast and Skype announced a partnership that will let Comcast customers make and accept wide-screen, high-definition video calls (as well as communicate via instant messages) through their television sets.
Skype on Comcast will let users identify incoming Skype calls via caller ID, accept incoming calls while watching TV, and import friends and colleagues' contacts from Facebook, Outlook, Gmail, and smartphone address books.
The Skype service will be delivered to Comcast customers via a combination of an adapter box, video camera, and a special remote that will let them input text as well as control their televisions. The other party does not need any special equipment beyond what is normally needed to use Skype.
Microsoft will purchase the company from investor group Silver Lake, which—along with Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz Ventures, and the Canada Pension Plan (CPP)—acquired a majority stake in Skype in December 2009.
Microsoft said the deal will increase the accessibility of real-time video and voice communications across its products, while expanding Skype's reach. Skype will be available on Microsoft products like Xbox, Kinect, and Windows Phone, and Microsoft will connect Skype users with Lync, Outlook, Xbox Live, and more.
Microsoft said it will continue to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms.
We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2010, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live in 2010, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
Fring App Brings Skype Video Calling to iPhone 4 over Wi-Fi and 3G:
Sure, Skype just formally announced video calling in the Skype 3.0 iOS app, but Fring brought us Skype video calls months ago! The thing is, Skype pulled that feature from Fring with the quickness, but that didn't stop this from being the most read story we published in 2010!
Sure, we've given you a list of our top 10 most read stories of 2010, but we figured we'd go a bit more broad than that. We also thought it would be interesting to give you a look at the top ten most read stories on this site this year, period, regardless of what year they were posted. We must say, we're just as surprised as you are at what did (and didn't) make the list! Click on through to check out the full list!
According to a story in China's major newspaper, People's Daily, it appears that the Chinese government has declared all VoIP solutions not provided by the government's own China Telecom and China Unicorn to be illegal. This would make Skype, the most popular VoIP service, illegal as well. So far, Skype denies that it has been banned, and users in China keep using the service, but if the government were to apply this new rule, this would be a major drawback for Chinese users, and westerners traveling to the country.
Read More | People's Daily
A week after the biggest Skype outage in recent memory (it lasted around 24 hours,) the company CIO posted an interesting rundown of how and why the failure occurred, giving a glimpse as to how Skype works behind the scenes. On Wednesday, December 22, a Skype server handling offline messaging became overloaded, resulting in delayed messages. Due to a bug, a version of Skype for Windows did not process those delayed messages correctly, which made them crash. This led to around 25% of the total Skype supernodes, the clients directing connections and logins in the Skype network, to crash. Since Skype clients have protections built in so that they do not overload the systems they run on, the large amount of crashed clients being restarted caused a massive load on the network, causing more supernodes to shut down to protect themselves. Almost the whole Skype network was thus brought to a halt. Check out the post to view more details, and how the Skype team brought everything back online.
Read More | Skype
The big rumor this weekend making the rounds is that Skype may be planning to bring video calls to mobile platforms soon. A document was discovered by Engadget showing some help topics like "How do I make video calls with Skype for iPhone?" Also, Skype has been saying it will make some new video related announcements at CES next month. Could this mean Skype users will be able to use their iPhone 4 with something other than FaceTime? So far it's always been a sticky issue to use video on phones because of the high bandwidth requirements. The real question here is, if true, will Skype video calls be Wi-Fi only, or will you be able to make these calls over 3G?
Read More | Engadget
Skype suffered a major outage yesterday where many users, possibly millions, were left without service. It started early in the morning, with people finding that they were unable to login, see their friends list, or place calls. At first, Skype tweeted that they were looking into the issue, but it soon became clear that the problem was affecting a large number of people, for several hours.
Skype put up a blog post in the afternoon to explain what the situation was, and how it was a problem affecting many users that caused the number of supernodes, those systems that are used by the Skype network to connect calls and process logins, to be taken offline. They added that they are working on creating "mega-supernodes" to take over that role and rectify the problem. According to their estimates, voice calls should be functioning within hours, but video calls and group features may be down longer. This may end up being one of the most serious issue that the company has had in the past several years.
Read More | Skype
Skype update it's Android application today with version 1.0.1.
The first thing addressed is the support for screen resolutions common to more Android phones. Skype also announced that the hardware back key will now send the application to the background, while still allowing calls and IMs. Skype stated that this fix should also lesson battery consumption. Other fixes include:
- Signing out from Skype now exits Skype.
- Improved login stability and behavior.
- Improved performance with large contact lists.
- Reduced application size.
Problems having to do with the Galaxy S line of phones remain and Skype simply states that they "do not recommend installing Skype 1.0.1 for Android on this device with Android 2.1 and below."
Read More | Skype Blog
Hey, don’t look now, but if you’ve been wanting to use your iPhone 4 front camera to do video calling outside of FaceTime (and on 3G,) the newly updated Fring app is where you’ll wanna look. They updated so that you can do a video chat with any Skype user or anyone else running Fring, and you can do it over Wi-Fi or 3G. Now the cool thing here is that you can do video chats with people who are sitting at their computers connected to Skype, this isn’t just iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 like FaceTime currently is. The call quality will vary depending on your connection, but still, its another video calling option, and the app is free. You can download Fring now from the App Store.
Oh, and please don’t drive while video calling. That can lead to all sorts of trouble.