Skype has announced in a blog that it has started the roll-out of group video calling to iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets in Western Europe and North America and will be fully available worldwide in March.
This will allow users to have multiple groups in one video call at the same time. In the blog Skype added that “we believe that video is essential to maintaining personal connections with the people who matter most. To see someone’s face, to view a reaction and to experience that closeness with people you love — these are the things that inspired and motivated us to deliver a first-rate group video calling experience on mobile and tablet”.
The video calling facility is of HD quality, has enhanced SILK Super Wide Band audio codec which they worked on with Microsoft partner Intel specifically for Azure on Intel processors.
Users can be part of any group video call of up to 25 participants regardless of the device they are accessing Skype from, phone, tablet or PC.
For the mobile and tablet versions, Skype has also included customization options; the Grid View which lets users see the other callers in a grid format, or Focus View which automatically focuses on the person talking at that time.
The participants don’t even have to have Skype accounts. With recent tweaks, users can invite anyone to join a Skype chat by sharing a unique link and anyone can join as a guest on Skype for Web as long as they have the latest version of Skype for Windows, Mac or Web, clicking +New and sending the unique URL generated to anyone.
There is a fair usage policy to these calls however. They are subject to a FUP limit of 100 hours/month with no more than 10 hours/ day and a limit of 4 hours/ individual video call. After this the the video will switch off and convert to an audio call.
You can download Skype here.