Simple prompts while Skyping allow users to adjust how they manage their internet connection to ensure they have the best possible call quality. Other new functionality includes built-in, localized payment options, in over 15 currencies.
Here are some more details:
• Easy Dialing – instead of having to remember specific country codes, easily call landlines or cell phones worldwide by selecting the country of choice from a dropdown menu.
• Payments in Skype – payment is now built into the Skype software, making it simpler to buy Skype credit, SkypeOut minutes, ringtones from artists like Madonna and more.
• Send Short Message Service (SMS) Messages – send a one-way SMS message to any mobile phone number in the world by selecting a SkypeOut contact, entering a mobile phone number or selecting a Skype contact’s mobile phone number in their profile.
• View Outlook Contacts – quickly view Outlook contacts in Skype and call directly using SkypeOut, a call from Skype to traditional landlines or cell phones.
• Improved Conference Calling – instantly see who is talking on a conference call as the participant’s picture flashes when they begin to speak.
• Shared Contact Groups – easily share contacts with friends and family and help them connect with other people; bring groups together with just one click of a button to start a group chat or conference call.
• Simplified Registration – create Skype accounts in one simple step.
• Automatic Updates – receive an automatic prompt to download the latest Skype software any time the product is upgraded.
• Call Quality Management – lets users adjust and manage their computer environment and internet connection to ensure they have the best possible call quality.
Skype Certified Hardware
In addition to the introduction of Skype 2.5 beta, leading hardware vendors have announced the following Skype Certified products which extend and add value to the Skype experience:
• Available from May 2006 in Europe and July in the rest of the world, the Phillips VOIP321 cordless dual phone enables free Skype calls, as well as ordinary landline calls – for maximum consumer freedom and the ability to switch seamlessly between both communications mediums.
• Creative is offering the Creative Voice Webcam, a revolutionary new webcam with wide angle and video image enhancement which will be available worldwide from May 2006.
• Polycom and Skype this week announced the Polycom Communicator™, 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.
In addition the software will have something called Skypecasts which are the voice communities concept I have been talking about for moth. Up to 100 people can communicate at one time on any topic. A host can take control of the call and can mute or eject people as the see fit.
Here is the really cool stuff:
Bloggers can schedule Skypecasts and link to them from their sites, so visitors using Skype can click to join discussions instantly, without leaving the blog site.
Skypecasts can be promoted on any website using simple HTML snippets. All live Skypecasts are available in preview form at skypecasts.skype.com.