updated 05:00 pm EST, Tue February 3, 2009
Skype 4.0 now available
Skype announced on Tuesday that the latest Skype 4.0 version for Windows is now available to download. Callled the most distinctive Skype release yet, build 4.0 includes the company's first-ever full-screen video calling capability. As well, the software is easier to use and retains all the previous features Skype users have come to expect. With a minimum of a 400Kbps Internet connection, a PC with a dual-core CPU and a Skype-certified webcam, users can experience 30fps video calls.
Another addition to the latest Skype build includes improved call quality thanks to a new audio codec that uses 50 percent less bandwidth than before while using super wideband audio for clear sound delivery. The codec uses a bandwidth manager to adjust for fluctuating speeds and make a reliable connection.
The user interface has been improved, and there is now a Conversations Tab to keep track of multiple conversations in a single window. The tab also lets users quickly pick between voice or video calls to other Skype users, calls to landlines or cellphones, as well as instant messaging and SMS messages. There are also two distinct views, with Default View putting all functions into one window and Compact View allowing users to separate individual conversations into their own windows.
Skype has not announced when a version with similar updates will be made available to Mac and other non-Windows devices.