(Note: Due to recent issues with Skype Journal’s Moveable Type blogging platform where a post has not been automatically going to the Home Page, I had already drafted this post when I found that Phil actually had issued his post on the Skype 3.8 public release. So I put this up for completeness and also with some commentary on the main upgrade features.)
Yesterday (while I was on a travel day) Skype released Skype 3.8 for Windows to the public after about four weeks as a beta. While I have previously reported on my experiences with the beta, here is a review of the four key features:
- Improved audio quality that reduces background noise and call delay as well as fewer call drops and cutouts. Within my network of contacts I was finding that contacts with three or four year-old PC’s with single core processors and 512MB RAM are having a much better Skype calling experience.
- An ability to change headphones or other audio devices solely from within the Skype client. This addresses a shortcoming of Windows itself (XP, 2000) for handling audio devices since these O/S’s were developed in the early stages of the emergence of audio as a key feature of many Windows programs.
- Hidden user profile picture to address the SPIM issue Phil blogged about eight weeks ago. Upon making a contact request to authorize exchange of contact details with a new contact, the profile image is hidden behind a "veil" that can be exposed upon clicking.
- Implementation of Skype’s own UPnP protocol (as opposed to the Microsoft UPnP Framework) to configure firewalls for the best call quality. Skype’s UPnP helps Skype get more direct connections with fewer relayed calls, lower latency and less packet loss. resulting in improved call quality. (Also available on Skype 188.8.131.52 for Linux and coming to Skype for Mac.)
From the response of several of my contacts who have been using the Skype 3.8 beta, this is definitely a recommended upgrade. You can access it using "Help | Check for Updates" in your Skype client or download it here.
Tags: Skype, Skype for Windows, UPnP
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