Skype has released Skype 4.0 for Windows, the latest version of its communicator tool for PCs, offering better full-screen video call quality and a number of other improvements.
Available as a beta download since June last year, Skype 4.0 is being billed as the most distinctive release in the company's history.
While Skype has always enabled users to make free voice-over-IP (VoIP) calls and exchange instant messages with other Skype users, the new version makes it easier to start a video call and experience face-to-face full-screen video, the firm said.
Mike Bartlett, director of product strategy at Skype, explained that the new version is the result of feedback from tens of thousands of users over two years of development.
"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," he said.
Another new feature is a built-in bandwidth manager designed to optimise call quality for the available bandwidth, making video calling possible even on a low-speed connection. Skype claimed that up to 30 frames per second is possible with a fast enough connection, dual-core processor PC and a Skype-certified webcam.
Voice call quality has often been an area of criticism for Skype, so version 4.0 features a new audio codec that needs only half the bandwidth. Where spare bandwidth is available, the codec interacts with the bandwidth manager to adjust quickly to fluctuating line conditions, and ensure the most reliable sound quality, Skype said.
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