As Phil posted last week, Skype released its Skype 3.8 for Windows beta client with several improvements. After working with it for four days I have found — and some of these are from comments from other parties who also downloaded 3.8:
- Improved voice quality on low RAM PC’s: two acquaintances who have installed it onto three to four year-old PC’s with single core processors and 512MB of RAM are reporting both more stable performance and better voice quality.
- More consistent High Quality Video: again here I am finding faster negotiation up to High Quality Video when a call starts and more consistent sustaining of the High Quality Video mode.
- Here’s one improvement that I was able to test today. It used to be that if I forgot to plug in my wireless stereo headset when booting up, I would have to go through some Skype settings adjustments and Control Panel "Sound and Audio Devices" settings gymnastics to have the newly plugged-in device work properly with Skype. But when I installed 3.8 beta I found the "What’s New" splash screen shown above. Today I had occasion to plug in my wireless stereo headset after booting up my PC. Simply plugged it in, made a Skype Test Call, changed the audio settings at the bottom of the call panel to use this headset; it worked immediately with no need to go to the Windows "Sound and Audio Devices" settings at all. This eliminates a major issue that arose originally due to well-known limitations in Windows XP’s handling of audio devices.
- Finally, Skype 3.6 would arbitrarily shut down occasionally when I initiated a call. Submitted the bug to JIRA a couple of months ago and, in this first subsequent update release, this issue appears to have been addressed.
This limited initial experience with Skype 3.8 beta has overall made calling a much smoother, more friction-free process. Let’s hope it continues into the gold release. In the meantime, if you have upgraded to Skype 3.8 beta please put your experience into the Comments for this post. (While I have not heard of any issues, remember this is still a beta release.)
Update: One more improvement as noted in a Skype blog post about this release. Recall Phil’s post about Sexy SPIM for Skype? In an ensuing Skype 3.x Public Chat discussion it was suggested that Skype contact requests no longer include an avatar on incoming authorization requests. According to Skype:
In addition, we’ve hidden the avatar by default in incoming authorization requests. Some people have been using images that others don’t find all that pleasing, so this measure should help clean things up.
Tags: Skype, Skype High Quality Video, Skype 3.8 beta
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