Microsoft-owned Skype is releasing a new version of its SkypeKit, which allows Skype calls, instant messaging, video chat and other features to be integrated by developers into consumer electronics. As Skype writes in its announcement today, the company opened up SkypeKit to the public in June to ‘accelerate Skype’s presence in the consumer electronics industry.’ Today, Skype is releasingthe Developer Preview of SkypeKit 4.02, which extends funcionaluty include desktop applications.
Developers can integrate Skype into their Windows, Mac and Linux desktop applications via SkypeKit for Desktop, which adds native Skype functionality directly into partner applications or via the Skype Desktop API, which allows developers to extend the functionality of Skype for Windows, Skype for Mac and Skype for Linux.
For the first time, Skype is releasing Video APIs to the new SkypeKit for Desktop. These Video APIs will allow developers to add video calling to desktop apps. For now, Chris Andrews, Senior Business Development Manager at Skype says the the API only supports one-on-one video calling but group chat is on the roadmap.
Andrews says that potential products using the API could focus on specific Skype desktop apps for kids, or seniors. He adds that some partners who are using the Video APIs are focused on distance learning and telemedicine opportunities. For, now, there are no plans for a mobile API, he says.
Skype is also officially announcing its App Directory, which was soft launched in August. Skype has sorted both consumer apps and business apps that have been built of its APIs into groups by genre (call recording, video, desktop sharing etc.), and featured the top downloaded free and paid apps, top rated apps and the newest apps across the board and by genre.
For each app, Skype provides a landing page that gives more information about the application, release date, star rating and comments, features, requirements, screenshots and more. You can choose to download the app, and Skype will take you to the developer’s landing page. Skype users can also search for apps by cost, language, keywords, OS and more.
Andrews says the focus of the app directory is discovery for developers and the company will do more promotion around the app directory and third-party apps in the future.