Change is afoot with Skype, the popular voice and video chat app, with an update to the iOS version which includes support for Bluetooth on the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and fourth-gen iPod touch, image stabilization and the new introduction of ads. This is good news for yuppies with fancy bluetooth headsets who like to talk loudly about “positive paradigm re-adjustment” while sitting in Starbucks. The video stabilization will be nice as well for those of you who hold up your iPad like a Gideon Bible while talking… but reports say that it only works on the rear camera (which is the camera you don’t use while video conferencing).
And then there are the ads.
[quote]As with our recent Mac update, there will be an advertising platform introduced in this new release. Paying Skype consumers or users with Skype Credit will not see any display ads on their iPhones or iPads. [/quote]
I get that a good app deserves to make money (even though Skype has an attractive and viable revenue system in place), but the introduction of ads in addition to the significant drop in overall awesome with Skype 5.0 seems like a strong motivator to give Skype its walking papers and move to something else. Skype has also fallen under heavy (and much-deserved) criticism for their previous 5.0 update in which the user interface was completely reworked to become a commonly-used example of how to build bad interfaces. Confusing, awkward, nonsensical and built in such a way as to make common actions difficult or impossible (try… just try to view a chat log from 6 weeks ago and see how that goes). With other very effective VoIP solutions available (including Apple’s own FaceTime), it seems odd that Skype is undergoing changes that are best implemented when there’s nobody else waiting in the wings to drink your milkshake.