Skype trots out beta of major redesign

Skype has released version 4.0 of its Net telephony and IM software, its biggest redesign yet, according to the eBay unit

Skype has made available a test version of its latest upgrade, Skype 4.0, which the eBay unit calls its biggest and most ambitious release in its almost five-year history.

"This is the most fundamental change in our product since its inception," said Don Albert, general manager of Skype North America, during a press conference on Wednesday.

Best known as a provider of free and inexpensive Internet telephony services, Skype has redesigned its software in version 4.0 to highlight the other modes of communication it provides.

"We want to let people realize the full benefits of our client software," he said.

The user interface has been redesigned from the ground up to make it cleaner, easier to use and better suited to managing multiple conversations by consolidating, for example, several instant message chats, a video call and a photo file-transfer session into a single screen, instead of having one window for each.

In particular, Skype wants to emphasize video calling, which has grown tremendously in the past two years and now accounts for about 28 percent of all Skype call minutes.

"We have doubled down on video," he said.

Specifically, video calls now start by default with a large screen, and its controls have been tweaked so that a video call can be launched with one click and a companion IM chat session also started with a single click.

Version 4.0 has also been designed to make it easier for users to find friends in the Skype directory, as well as discover existing features they may not know about, he said. In addition, Skype 4.0 recognizes more quickly Skype-certified hardware.

The 4.0 version available now is in "early beta" and very much "a work in progress," but Skype decided to put it out there in order to elicit feedback from users, Albert said.

Skype plans to take its time gathering reactions from people and making adjustments, so it hasn't set a date for wrapping up the beta testing period.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?