"Skype started with desktop, it was really our heritage but we've seen users adapting and shifting to more mobile scenarios," said Dan Chastney, principal program manager lead at Skype. "We really wanted to find a way of helping users stay connected in between their Skype calls".
Video messaging is not new in the chat app scene, but Qik is developed with this sole function in mind and promises to allow faster and easier video shooting and communication. Its interface looks different than Skype's, yet manages to capture the same feeling. It also takes a page out of Viber and WhatsApp's books by syncing to your device via phone number, instead of account, allowing you to find contacts who have the app faster.
You can record upto 42 seconds video. To record, you pull down from the top of the screen and press the giant, pink button underneath. The recorded clips can be sent to anyone in your address book. If they have the Skype Qik app on their smartphone, they'll receive a notification; if they don't, you have the option to send them an SMS with a relevant download link.
Conversations are maintained on the home screen and you can select each of them individually to see what's been sent in the past. Prior videos are lined up as circular orbs at the bottom of the screen, with a video player just above.
Skype claims that Qik fills a gap that Skype doesn't. Because of Skype's conversational nature, the company says, it's less suitable for spontaneous, ad hoc communication. This is, however, a little surprising, as last year the company added a feature, video messaging, to enable precisely this: with Skype video messages, you can send recorded videos, rather than live two-way chat, to any Skype contacts.
One oddity about Qik is that it has no business model. The app is free, there are no ads, and there are no unlockable premium features. This isn't an issue for something like WhatsApp, because there the revenue model is simply "get bought out by a big company with lots of money," but with Skype being a part of Microsoft, that doesn't seem to be an option. Skype tells us that it doesn't see an issue with this, because Qik messaging is a complement to conversational Skype messaging, filling in a gap in the Skype world.
The Qik app can be download from: