Skype Qik: Microsoft's answer to Snapchat (+video)

Skype Qik is a new video messaging app made specifically for mobile. Skype Qik allows users to send short video messages to a friend or to a group.

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Skype is making a splash in the world of mobile messaging with a new app that is part Snapchat, part classic Skype.

Skype Qik is an attempt by Microsoft, who owns Skype, to enter the emerging mobile-messaging market. Skype Qik allows users to have spontaneous video conversations through 42-second video messages with a friend or group. Unlike other messaging apps, Skype Qik is totally video based. No text or pictures.  

"We’re responding to the big trends in the industry," Piero Sierra, Skype's director of mobile, told The Verge. "We wanted to make sure we had something in between those scheduled Skype calls that is light, fun, easy to use, and fast. That’s why the name Qik resonated with us."

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Skype Qik also has a feature called Qik Flik to allow users to send pre-recorded videos when recording new ones isn't possible. Users make five-second animations at their convenience, such as an image of a thumbs up, to quickly respond to future videos. A few Qik Fliks are available upon download, and then users can easily take and store more. Qik Flik isn't currently available for the Windows Phone version, but it will be available in the next update. 

Don't have a Skype account? Don't worry. Anyone with a mobile device can use Skype Qik for free. Once the app is downloaded, users verify their mobile number. Videos can then be sent to anyone on a phone's contact list; if the recipients don't have the app, they will receive an SMS message telling them how to download the app and view the video.

Skype Qik allows you delete your own video messages, but you cannot delete a video someone sent you. All videos will be automatically deleted after two weeks and there is no way to save the videos from the app.

"Skype Qik is truly quick. You swipe down from the home screen of the app and you’re thrown immediately into the video interface where you can freely switch between front- and rear-facing smartphone cameras while you’re recording," Tom Warren wrote in The Verge. "There’s no preview or waiting for the video to process, it just sends immediately to a friend or a group of friends you have set up."

Qik began 7 years ago as the very first mobile streaming app. Skype bought Qik in 2011, the same year Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion. Qik was retired in April. Since then, a small team of developers has worked to turn Qik from a video-streaming service to a video-chat service that runs alongside Skype, which already has two million users.

The mobile- and video-messaging apps have rapidly grown in the past few years. There's Facetime, Snapchat, Facebook Messanger, Skype for mobile, and WhatsApp, which was officially purchased by Facebook for $22 billion last week. Skype Qik is different than these applications because it is solely video based, and though that may not be for everyone, its simple design and ease of use could attract users who are looking for another option to current mobile messaging apps. 

Skype Qik is currently available for iOS, Android, and Windows. Skype said updates and new features will be coming in the next few months.

"This is just our first release. We’re excited to see how you’ll use Qik and we’ll be working on new features inspired by your feedback," Skype said in a blog post.

 
 
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