It looks like Skype (news, site) is preparing for a good year. The VoIP company announced the acquisition of Qik's mobile video software technology at this week's CES conference in Las Vegas.

Qik allows users to instantly record and share videos from mobile device to the Internet, as well as make video calls on a range of smartphones. Add this functionality to Skype and, considering how popular FaceTime has been for Apple devices, you've got the makings of a very competitive product on your hands. 

”Through this acquisition, we’ll also be able to take advantage of the engineering expertise that is behind Qik’s Smart Streaming technology, which optimizes video transmission over wireless networks,” Skype CEO Tony Bates said. “Together, we’ll focus on providing great products that will allow people around the world to share experiences in real-time video across different platforms, as well as storing those moments so they can be viewed later.”



New Features, GET! 

Skype also unveiled a new networking feature: group video calling for consumers and enterprises.

Group video calling will be a part of the business version of Skype or Skype’s new premium packages, which start at US$ 4.99 for a day pass, or US$ 8.99 for a monthly subscription. Video calls between two Skype members will remain free.

Current Skype users can save a little money if they sign up now, landing a 33% discount on the 3- and 12-month subscriptions, while new users can sample the service for free for seven days. Note: Users must have Skype 5.0 installed.

The company also mentioned that Panasonic's upcoming line of Blueray players, Sony's Bravia televisions and Vizio's new Internet-enabled televisions are equipped with Skype. Meanwhile, Samsung and Panasonic (two companies that already manufacture Skype-enabled television sets) plan to include the technology in their upcoming models.

Whether these new capabilities will be used more for business or consumer environments remains to be seen. What do you think?