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Skype Intros 2.5 Beta and Skypcasting
[May 03, 2006]

Skype Intros 2.5 Beta and Skypcasting


Associate Editor
 
Skype (News - Alert), the global Internet calling provider, has released Skype 2.5 Beta, its latest software edition allowing users to make voice and video calls for free over the Internet. 
Skype’s newest features and enhancements make it even easier to set up a Skype account and to stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues for free.
 

The newest version of Skype simplifies registration and dialing, while improved conference calling and other improvements provide excellent voice quality.  Simple prompts while Skyping allow users to adjust how they manage their Internet connection to ensure they have the best possible call quality. Localized payment options in more the 15 currencies have also been built in.
 
As with all Skype releases, Skype 2.5 beta customers can talk for as long as they like with over 100 million Skype customers across the world without worrying about the cost or the distance of the call.
 
Enhancements to the service include:
 
  • Easy Dialing — Instead of having to remember country codes, easily call landlines or cell phones worldwide by selecting the country from a dropdown menu;
  • Payments in Skype — Payment is now built in, making it simpler to buy Skype credit, SkypeOut minutes, and ringtones;
  • SMS — Send a one-way SMS message to any mobile phone number;
  • View Outlook Contacts — quickly view Outlook contacts in Skype and call directly using SkypeOut;
  • Improved Conference Calling — Speakers’ pictures flash when they begin to speak allowing instant speaker identification;
  • Shared Contact Groups — Share contacts with friends and family and connect with just one click to start a group chat or conference call;
  • Simplified Registration — Create Skype accounts in one simple step;
  • Automatic Updates — Receive automatic prompts to download the latest Skype software;
  • Call Quality Management — Lets users adjust and manage their computer environment and Internet connection to ensure they have the best possible call quality.
 
“Skype has always focused on making it easy for people to have conversations for as long as they like, anywhere in the world, for free.  We want to make Internet calling incredibly straightforward so people can effortlessly stay in touch,” said Niklas Zennstrom, CEO of Skype. “With the latest version of Skype’s software, we’ve listened to our customers and made it even easier for communities of people to connect and easily talk to each other for free.”
 
In addition to the software upgrade, several well-known hardware vendors have recently announced Skype Certified products:
 
The Philips VOIP321 DECT cordless dual phone enables free Skype calls as well as ordinary landline calls.  It will be Available from May 2006 in Europe and July in the rest of the world
 
The new Creative Live! Cam Voice features directional audio and noise reduction technology that captures the user’s voice while eliminating background and environmental noise from outside the Webcam’s field of view.
 
Polycom (News - Alert) Communicator is a USB speakerphone that leverages Polycom’s Acoustic Clarity Technology to deliver high-fidelity, two-way voice communication for Skype conversations, without echoes or feedback.
 
Skype also is pilot testing its Skypecast product.  Skypecasts enable groups of up to 100 people with like interests — anything from collegiate paintball tournaments to ‘80s pop music to collecting hot pepper sauces — to participate in live conversations moderated by a host, who is able to mute, eject, or pass the virtual microphone to participants when they wish to speak. Hosting or participating in a Skypecast is completely free.
 
Skypecasts can be promoted on any website using simple HTML snippets. All live Skypecasts are available in preview form at skypecasts.skype.com.
 
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY. Most recently, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.

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