Skype video conferencing on the PC has been the reality for a while now, and their recent expansion into mobile devices has helped turned the software client into a household name. With few places left to expand it should be no surprise that the VOIP solution is coming to the living room, but this time you’ll find it packed into upcoming Sony Blu-Ray players.
At the Sony CES booth in Las Vegas they were showing demos of the interface which requires not just the player, but a separate proprietary camera accessory. Video quality will be limited to SD resolution at launch, and according to Sony representatives they have no plans at the current time to make the leap to HD.
With Video calling being a built in feature of Kinect, I’m a bit surprised Sony hasn’t tried to make this happen first on the PS3 first. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if they end up changing their mind, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
Residents of mainland China got a rude awakening today. According to The Telegraph, popular voice over IP (VoIP) app Skype has been declared illegal in the country. The only Internet voice calls that will be legal to place are those made over the two government controlled telecoms, China Unicom and China Telecom. This effectively ends Skype's ambitions to break into the rapidly growing Chinese market.
This is far from the first western online product the Chinese government has blocked. Service like Twitter and Facebook are banned as well. Google even closed down servers in China early this year amid the censorship controversy. While Skype calling mat technically be illegal now, it is uncertain what actions the Chinese authorities will take against it.
As of now, most users still report being able to connect to Skype, and most can still download the client. Skype has said only that Chinese users should look toward their Hong Kong partner Tom Online for VoIP services. Though, many fear that Tom Online is monitoring traffic.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Skype offered up a post-mortem explanation to the recent outage that affected thousands of users who were unable to connect and communicate.
"For starters, it helps to understand that Skype is based on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, which is explained here. Last week, the P2P network became unstable and suffered a critical failure," Skype explains.
"Users running either the latest Skype for Windows (version 188.8.131.52), older versions of Skype for Windows (4.0 versions), Skype for Mac, Skype for iPhone, Skype on your TV, and Skype Connect or Skype Manager for enterprises were not affected by this initial problem.
"However, around 50 percent of all Skype users globally were running the 184.108.40.206 version of Skype for Windows, and the crashes caused approximately 40 percent of those clients to fail. These clients included 25-30 percent of the publicly available supernodes, also failed as a result of this problem."
In other words, users should be pointing the finger partially at themselves for running outdated software, though Skype wasn't as blunt about this. Instead, the company said it's looking into several ways to avoid something like this from happening again, including revamping its process for automatic updates and continuing to invest in capacity upgrades.
Did you have trouble logging into Skype yesterday? If so, you're far from alone, because so did around 20 million other users, all victims to a temporary outage in which "some of you may be having problems signing in," Skype acknowledged in a Twitter post.
Later on, Skype issued a follow-up tweet that read, "Our engineers and site operations team are working non-stop to get things back to normal."
In a blog post on Wednesday, Skype blamed the screw-up on a problem affecting "a large number of supernodes," though didn't get into specifics.
"Unfortunately, today, many of [the supernodes] were taken offline by a problem affecting some versions of Skype," the company wrote in a blog post. "As Skype relies on being able to maintain contact with supernodes, it may appear offline for you.
"What are we doing to help? Our engineers are creating new 'mega-supernodes' as fast as they can, which should gradually return things to normal."
Anyone still having trouble signing into Skype? Hit the jump and let us know.
Oh, Skype. We have you to thank for transforming thousands, of not hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people into cheapskates. I say that lovingly, for I, too, dream of a day when I can forever free myself from the confines of a monthly cell phone plan and run into the loving, warm embrace of no-monthly-cost, Skype-based chatting…
Okay, so maybe that’s a bit overdramatic. But it would be silly to think that Skype hasn’t radically transformed the way a lot of people go about their daily lives. In fact, some people do indeed subsist on this service, and this service alone, for all of their phone-based needs. And many more people use Skype to conduct business; to make podcasts; to call loved ones from afar, as is the case with Maximum PC dream date winner Magali and her French family.
In short, Skype is kind of a big deal. You know it, I know it, but… the one thing that you likely don’t know off the top of your head is all the different ways you can maximize your VoIP-chatting experience through the use of third-party Skype add-ons, software tweaks, and more! That’s what we’ll be covering in this comprehensive tips guide: Making Skype awesome.
PC users have been rocking Skype 5.0 for a short while now, and now Mac users can get in on the fun, albeit in beta form. Skype 5.0 beta for OS X sports a retooled interface "that simplifies navigation and provides a more Mac-like experience," Skype announced in a blog post.
Group video calling is part of the deal, as is a new call control bar, the ability to search chat content, offline IMing, personalized contacts (via user profiles), the ability to quickly rejoin calls if your Internet connection hiccups, and floating contacts.
It's a completely different Skype app than what Mac users are accustomed to, and most would argue much improved. Not included, however, is any kind of Facebook integration like what's available in the Windows version.
Just one day after appointing Cisco Senior Executive Tony Bates as its new CEO, Skype has gone and announced the release of its Skype for Android app for mobile handsets running Android 2.1 or later.
"The Skype experience is ubiquitous today. More and more people are using Skype to do things together when apart. With the addition of Android, we are pleased that Skype is now available on three of the most popular mobile platforms today: Android, iOS, and Symbian."
It's been a long wait, but now that it's here, Android smartphone owners can make free Skype-to-Skype calls over Wi-Fi or mobile data connections (GPRS, EDGE, 3G), make Skype calls to landlines, send and receive individual or group Skype IMs, synchronize contacts between Skype and the native address book, receive calls on their Skype online number, and a few other goodies.
The rumor mill is churning yet again, and this time we're hearing that Facebook and Skype are about to roll out a deeply integrated experience for users. The two companies are preparing to announce a partnership that will offer access to SMS, voice, and Facebook Connect integration; most likely on both platforms.
Skype has 124 million registered users, so they would be the natural choice for adding telephony communication to Facebook. Many of Facebook's user may already have Skype accounts, so the integration should be seamless. The Facebook integration will reportedly be available in the new version 5 release of Skype expected to drop in the coming weeks.
As Skype prepares for an IPO, this could be quit the feather in their cap. Do you think Facebook users would start using Skype if the integration was there?
For those of you who don't mind walking on the beta side of software, there's a new version of Skype available, version 5.0 Beta 2. Among the handful of changes, Skype 5.0 beefs up its group video calling feature with support for up to 10 people. For it to work, however, everyone in the group needs to be running the latest beta release.
The new version also comes with a revamped UI that Skype says is "sleeker, neater, and crisper than before." Skype Home has been added, where you can keep tabs on your contacts' mood messages, set your own mood message, select a profile picture and receive account notifications.
Otherwise, most of the changes are internal. Skype says it managed to improve call quality when making group calls and squashed a number of bugs that mucked with stability.
One of the topics we get asked about most often is VoIP (short for Voice over Internet Protocol), or Internet telephony. VoIP refers to any service that lets you make “phone calls” online. A lot of people have heard that you can make calls for cheap or even for free using VoIP, but they’ve got questions about how it works.
There are three main forms of internet phone call--PC to PC, PC to Phone, and Phone to Phone. In this article, we’ll explain each type, how it works, and how much it’ll cost you.