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 Post subject: IT News: Skype 2.0 offers free video calling
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 9:05 pm 
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Just thinking of what Skype has done for voice telephony, leaves one to believe that a similar offering with video capabilities would turn video telephony over the Internet universal. Now with Skype 2.0 this is exactly what appears to be in the offing as the company has gone all the way to tie up with webcam makers Creative and Logitech even at the beta stage. And who would say no to a free video telephone, when it is there to be had.

It is not as if video has not been available for chat. In fact MSN, Yahoo! Messenger and most Internet Messenger services have been providing this facility for whatever it is worth. However, as far as quality there is still much left wanting. There are lesser-known programs that have been providing high-quality video to select audiences. But when Skype is associated with video, it most certainly means a large audience will get a good quality product that works well with the voice aspect of telephony.

With three-quarters of the Webcam market held by Logitech and Creative together, Skype has found in these two companies powerful partners to co-market its newest product with video calling. The voice-over Internet software maker, in order to ensure that this partnership is effective has worked with both webcam makers on its new video functionality. As a result Skype 2.0 is likely to be promoted alongside cameras and headsets from Creative and Logitech.

A large part of Logitech's webcam models from the QuickCam line that entail Pro, Zoom, Fusion, Orbit and Notebooks Pro are “Skype 2.0 certified” and available from kype's online store. Whereas Creative is a bundled offering marketed through retails stores as the Creative WebCam Instant Skype Edition that includes a webcam, a headset, the Skype software and a microphone. Skype 2.0 itself is available for download from the Skype website and is currently available solely for Windows–based PCs. To get video-chat however a user needs to have an XP version or otherwise use the software in audio mode on Windows 2000.

A large part of Skype's 67 million subscribers are already likely to have PCs with 1.4 GHz processors to support the webcams and are therefore the captive audience for the upgrade. However those with Mac or Linux based PCs or using earlier versions of Windows would be excluded just by the version's PC requirements.

For now that leaves Skype 2.0 from achieving with a large part of what appears to drive the company. As the company CEO Niklas Zenstrom believes, "At Skype we want to make talking over the Internet the most natural, simple thing for people all over the world to do". But most will agree that “it's never been easier” than now with Skype 2.0.

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