Skype Mobile Makes Group Video Calls
The more the merrier. Smartphone and tablet users can conduct group video calls with up to 25 people.As promised earlier this year by Microsoft Vice President Gurdeep Pall, the Skype group video calling feature is finally arriving on the iPhone, iPad and Android versions of the app. "Today, we've started rolling out group video calling on iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets in Western Europe and North America and we expect to have completed our roll-out to these markets over the next week or so," announced the Skype team in a Feb. 18 blog post. "We plan to be fully available worldwide in March." The participant count has been increased from five to 25, and the company is invested in providing a cloud-aided, high-fidelity video calling experience for users, they added. In addition to high-definition visuals, group video calls feature audio powered by a codec used Microsoft's cloud conferencing stack called SILK Super Wide Band. The world's largest chipmaker also lent a hand. Microsoft's staffers said they worked with "with one of Microsoft's biggest partners, Intel, which helped enable us to optimize SILK Audio specifically for Azure running on Intel processors."
Smartphone and tablet users can select from two views, Grid and Focus, the latter of which was developed with large group calls in mind. "You can flip between a highly immersive grid view that makes you feel like you're in the same room, or you can switch to focus view where Skype automatically focuses on the active speaker, or lets you choose which participant to 'Pin' to the stage," wrote the Skype team.