Less than a day after an unintentional YouTube leak of a promotional video featuring a certain video chat app and an iPad 2, Skype’s VP of Consumer and Product Design Rick Osterloh confirmed in an interview with TUAW that an official iPad optimized Skype app is right around the corner.
Currently Skype users who want to take advantage of the company’s worldwide network of VOIP services have to contend with the iPhone app user interface, which limits video size to a smaller portion of the screen. It works, but many users have been grumbling since video chat integration was announced last December.
According to Osterloh the app will translate the current set of iPhone Skype app features to the iPad with screen optimization and device integration. That means several desktop features, most notably file share, will still be hobbled.
Still, it sounds like our dual sided iPad 2 cameras are about to get a work out.
According to sources, the Skype user base doubled when the Skype app hit the iPhone. Osterloh hopes for a similar spike in users with the release of the iPad Skype application.
He referred to the updated iPad 2 release with improved camera functionality as a “compelling” reason for Skype’s decision to aggressively develop an iPad specific app.
Osterloh confirmed that the app has been in testing for several months and said he is excited about the launch.
Take That FaceTime
When asked if he thought Apple was reluctant to encourage an iPad Skype app due to their native FaceTime application, Osterloh said Apple has been “supper supportive” and that as a rule Skype is always interested in “deeper integration.”
Expect Skype for iPad to function over Wi-Fi and 3G, a feature that’s sure to please mobile users. In addition to the wider range of network availability, Skype users can tap into a much broader base of users than FaceTime, putting iPad users in touch with PC users and Android users via video chat for the first time.
What You Can Expect
Osterloh did not divulge a release date or any app pricing information, but an announcement should be forthcoming. If Skype’s past is any indication, users can expect Skype for iPad to be free.
The Skype executive did include a note of caution in his discussion, advising users that their experience with the app and connection quality will vary based on their coverage and connection speed.
The company currently has over 30 million worldwide subscribers and is in the process of being purchased by Microsoft in an $8.5 billion deal.