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Skype has been a revolutionary force in the VOIP world for a number of years - and with half a billion users, they are THE force to be reckoned with in this space. Today Skype is available on PC's, mobiles and even TV sets. However they appear to want to take it further and bring the Skype voice and video calls to the whole growing universe of connected devices, including tablets, game consoles, photo frames, cars, wristwatches and gadgets yet to be imagined.
The SkypeKit Beta Program (yes, it's a wait and see for invite) is a collection of software and APIs that allows almost any Internet-connected device, application, or web site to offer Skype voice and video calling. It represents an incredible opportunity for two screen TV app developers and device manufacturers, who can now build Skype into their products. TV app developers, can for instance, build a two screen social TV solution in the tablet space with iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab. Or perhaps even eventually via Google TV (and Logitech) and Net TV(Philips) - both of whom will open the net by allowing full browsing with advanced remotes.
They originally opened it up to CE manufacturers, but now, there are SkypeKit versions compatible with desktop, TV and Web applications. Developers who use SkypeKit will be officially "Plugged into Skype," a descriptor that signals to consumers that their products offer Skype functionality.
Panasonic TV with Skype
What is SkypeKit?
SkypeKit is a collection of software and APIs that allows virtually any Internet connected device or application to offer Skype voice and video calls.
What is your goal with SkypeKit?
Our goal is to unleash Skype from the desktop so that third party device manufacturers and developers can embed it into consumer electronics devices, Web sites, and desktop applications.
Who is SkypeKit for?
Our Beta release of SkypeKit is designed for consumer electronics manufacturers. In subsequent phases, we will add versions for desktop software providers and web publishers.
Why aren't web and software developers able to use Skype Kit now?
Our experience partnering with CE manufacturers -- on products like Skype on Your TV - makes hardware a natural place to start. Our invited beta testers can now enjoy access to a Linux desktop version of SkypeKit, and soon we'll give them Windows and Mac versions. The Web version of SkypeKit comes further down the road.
What's in it for third-party developers and device partners?
Third-party developers can now embed Skype's premium quality calling functionality in their own products, distinguishing their offerings from competitors. Skype's brand allows developers to tap into Skype's base of 560 million registered users. In addition, Skype will provide marketing opportunities for "Plugged into Skype" products in our heavily trafficked Skype Store.
Didn't Skype have a set of public APIs before, and what's the difference with Skype Kit?
The longstanding Skype Public API is a great solution for accessories such as headsets and webcams that connect to Skype's standard desktop clients. But for years, developers have been screaming for a solution that works WITHOUT a Skype desktop application. Enter SkypeKit. Think of SkypeKit as a "headless" version of Skype - that is, a Skype client with no user interface that runs invisibly, not only on PCs, but also TVs, notebooks, and other connected devices. Developers communicate with SkypeKit through the SkypeKit API, surfacing Skype calls through their own applications.
Where do I go to sign up or get more information?
You can get more information or sign up for the SkypeKit Beta Program membership at http://developer.skype.com, though keep in mind, we will activate registrations on an invitation only basis during our beta period.