Skype hits version 4


Skype has released the fourth version of its popular VoIP software referring to it as the "most distinctive new release in the company's five-year history".

The company said it has drawn upon years of feedback from its users to create version 4.

"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," said Mike Bartlett, director of product strategy for Skype.

Video is a primary focus of the new release, and work has been done to makes it easier than ever to start and stop video calls. A bandwidth manager optimises the video quality to make the best of lower bandwidth connections, while those with fast enough dual-core equipped computers, and a Skype-certified high-quality webcam, can enjoy full-screen video at thirty frames per second.

Voice hasn't been ignored either, and Skype said that a new audio codec delivers wideband' quality for 50 per cent less bandwidth and again this is optimised by the bandwidth manager.

Other new features are improved interface for setting up headset, microphone and webcam and a 'Conversations Tab' for organising online chats.

Users can also choose between a 'Compact View' or a more expansive Default View that shows all the options available.

Version 4 is available for download now but is only available for Windows users.

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.