Skype released Feb. 3 its latest version for Microsoft Windows. Touting full-screen video calling and easier customer setup, Skype called the release the "most distinctive new release in the company's five-year history."
Skype 4.0 features a built-in bandwidth manager that the company claims will enhance video calling even on low-bandwidth connections. For customers with a fast connection (400K bps or higher), a dual-core processor PC and a Skype Webcam, Version 4.0 delivers up to 30 frames per second of high-quality video, Skype said.
A new "Conversations" tab is intended to make it easier to keep track of multiple conversations in one place. Using the tab, customers can switch between communication channels such as voice, instant messaging and SMS (Short Message Service). Additionally, users can choose to use Skype in two different views: the default view containing all data and information in a single window, or the compact view, allowing users to resize or put each conversation into separate windows.
"This is just the latest example of how Skype is continuing to innovate and improve its software to deliver an even better voice and video calling experience," Mike Bartlett, director of product strategy for Skype, said in a statement. "The combination of feedback from tens of thousands of users over the last two years of development has allowed us to create a truly amazing experience that puts the focus on bringing people closer together even when they are continents apart."
As in every new release of Skype, the company claims call quality has been improved.
"Call quality is substantially improved in the new version of Skype," the company stated in a release. "The new audio codec achieves wideband audio quality using 50 percent less bandwidth than previously required. Moreover, it introduces super wideband audio that delivers crystal clear, richer and warmer sound to those using a compatible headset and a high-quality broadband connection."
According to Skype, the new bandwidth manager interacts with the codec to adjust quickly to fluctuating bandwidth conditions to produce the most reliable sound.