updated 12:25 pm EDT, Wed May 5, 2010
Skype plans multi-user video chat beta
Skype this morning said it would launch a beta of its desktop app that opens the door to 5-user chat. The feature will be one of the few for a mainstream app outside of iChat and is being pitched as a way to simplify videoconferencing. The beta will be available sometime next week and will initially be free, though it may cost extra at a later date.
In sync with the video options, the company is also expanding its international calling plans to 170 countries as a cheaper alternative to the prepaid options they would normally have to use. The exact rates vary by country but start at the equivalent of $1.09 per month for 60 minutes of calling to real-world numbers. The deals can also work on a per-month basis or extend to every three months or whole year.