All signs have been pointing to this release for a few days now, but we'll admit: we expected Skype to wait until CES next week to pull the covers off what could become its crown jewel service over the coming months. Skype's official iOS client has finally sprouted the ability to make video calls, allowing iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and fourth-generation iPod touch users to share real-time video amongst each other and users of Skype's Windows, Mac, and Linux clients along with the ASUS Videophone (obviously, 3GS users won't have the convenience of a front-facing camera, but they'll still be able to broadcast video from the rear-facing one). Additionally, you'll be able to receive video from others if you're using an iPad or a third-generation iPod touch. The service is free and works over both WiFi and 3G -- and considering Skype's existing PC footprint, we'd argue this stands a very real chance of putting the hurt on FaceTime usage. No word on when Skype will be making video-capable clients available for Android or other mobile platforms, but Skype says that there'll be "plenty more" announcements in Vegas next week, so we wouldn't be surprised.
Update: So we just gave 3.0 a spin, calling iPhone-to-iPhone (both WiFi), iPhone-to-desktop (both WiFi), and again iPhone-to-iPhone (both 3G). The first two worked great, although the desktop camera produced better quality. As for the worst-case scenario, 3G-to-3G video calling, well... we wouldn't recommend it unless absolutely necessary. Video after the break, and be sure to note the battery life -- after about 10 minutes of use, we dropped from 66 percent to 61.
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]