Completely out of left field, Skype announced this morning that it has been acquired by Microsoft for a cool $8.5 billion in cash. Talk about timing, neither company seems to know about a certain huge developer conference that’s about to start in few minutes.
What does this acquisition mean for all you Skype users? Probably nothing in the near future, but who knows what Microsoft plans to do with Skype a year from now. So, why wait a year to switch from Microsoft Windows Live Video Chat Ultimate, when you can do it right now. Here are 4 good alternatives to Skype:
If video-chat is what you want and nothing else, Tango is the perfect fit for you. The app is as simple as it gets, with just a list of your Tango-using contacts and the ability to invite more friends. The video quality is very good and the app is quite responsive, even on low-end phones. Bonus: The app works even if your phone doesn’t have a front-facing camera.
On the other side of the spectrum, fring has every single feature you would ever want from a video-calling application. From group video-calling to regular phone calling, fring has it all. If you currently use Skype for calling regular phones, the service has calling rates similar to Skype. The app also uses fring’s video calling DVQâ„¢ technology (Dynamic Video Quality), that changes video quality depending on your connection.
Qik has been available for some Android phones for quite some time, but just recently the app found its way to the Market for all Android users to download. The service has all the basic features a good video-calling app requires, but Qik adds some unique ones that others lack. Like being able to receive and send video mail when either you or your friend is not available for video-chat. The app also allows you to record video and share the live feed with the world, because deep in your heart you know everybody is dying to see your cat lick itself.
Finally, ooVoo kind of takes something from all the others I mentioned. It’s very simple to use like Tango, but it also has group video-calling like fring. Like Skype, the service also has a desktop client for those times when you’d rather use your computer and not your phone. The Android app has one downside though, is only supported on certain devices. Check the ooVoo Market page to see if your phone is supported.
Bonus: Google Talk
Even though Google Talk with Video Chat in only available for Android phones running version 2.3.4, that also have a front-facing camera (read: just the Nexus S), the app should hit other Android phones over time. By the time you feel like switching away from Skype, your phone might already have Google Talk with Video. The app has one advantage over all the others, you already use it on a daily basis if you’re a Gmail user — which if you like Android means you probably are.
With this many good alternatives to Skype, which one will you go with? Or will you stay with Skype for the time being? Let us know in the comments.