Skype 4.0 brings new interface, better quality

A new major release of Skype’s popular voice-over-IP application has hit the web—for Windows users, at least. Skype 4.0 is purportedly the “most distinctive new release in the company’s five-year history,” and it brings a revamped user interface, audio quality and bandwidth management improvements, simpler video calling, and some miscellaneous tweaks.

The new interface seems to stray from typical instant-messaging clients, since it lumps the contact list, conversations, video conferences, and audio calls in a single window. Skype 4.0 also groups different communication protocols by user, so chat and VoIP interfaces are no longer separate.

If you don’t like the giant window, you can switch back to the old multi-window scheme by clicking a button in the title bar. Be warned, though: clicking “Call phones” in that mode pops up a separate window with a giant number pad. Not the cleanest setup in the world.

As for the quality enhancements, here’s how Skype describes the updated audio codec in the new release:

The new audio codec achieves wideband audio quality using 50% less bandwidth than previously required. Moreover, it introduces super wideband audio that delivers crystal clear, richer and warmer sound to those using a compatible headset and a high quality broadband connection. The bandwidth manager interacts with the codec to adjust quickly to fluctuating bandwidth conditions to produce the most reliable sound.

You can download Skype 4.0 for Windows right from this page. Mac and Linux users will have to bide their time for now, but they can pass time by checking out the screenshot gallery below.

Comments closed
    • indeego
    • 11 years ago

    It also brings a very shady practice that makes you install unaffiliated sofware to accept the EULA:
    §[< http://indeego.com/evilskype.png<]§ Only truly evil companies do thisg{<.<}g

    • MadManOriginal
    • 11 years ago

    Acquired by eBay in 2005. eBay is constantly dicking around with the UI on eBay, often without adding any actual features just shuffling stuff around. I’m surprised Skype lasted this long.

    • Code:[M]ayhem
    • 11 years ago

    What is up with the web installer are we back to 1999 again?

    • fantastic
    • 11 years ago

    I use it mostly for chatting and it just keeps getting more crap that I can’t hide or turn off. If you don’t upgrade, you’re a target for the “bad people on the internet.” No choice when the other end doesn’t want to switch.

    I haven’t tried the new VoIP quality yet. I have credit on my account, so maybe I’ll call someone.

      • indeego
      • 11 years ago

      Tis the way I felt about msn messenger. I eventually convinced friends and family to switch to gtalk, arguably the least bloated of single-IM-service clientsg{<...<}g

        • zima
        • 11 years ago

        Too bad they can’t get their act together in regards to fragmentation of features between versions (mostly: great file & image sharing is available only in native win32 client, while video – only in gmail client, with win&osx only plugins)

        Also, it wold be nice to have this functionality (and not much else!) in some good Linux client…supposedly everything in Gtalk is based on open standars, but still…no luck.

    • albundy
    • 11 years ago

    how about new and efficient skype wifi phones? its been over a half decade!

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Oo, how you like them apples, jdrake? It’s for _[

      • indeego
      • 11 years ago

      He will reply that he bootcamps in anywayg{<.<}g

    • delsydsoftware
    • 11 years ago

    I’ve been using the beta for this in Windows 7 (because the old version crashes), and I hate it. Call quality has improved a bit, but you can’t use the number pad on the keyboard for dialing anymore. Since i use a lot of automated voice systems at my job, that’s slightly annoying. I haven’t see a place to enable this feature, either.

    Now, when I call an automated system, I have to click a little icon to bring up a virtual number pad. But, for some reason, Skype still doesn’t register numpad input as activity. So, usually when I’m halfway through punching in an access code for a conference call, Skype closes the numpad and brings up a window warning me that my microphone is not picking up any sound. I have to close that warning box and re-open the numpad. By that time, the phone system has timed out and I have to re-enter my codes. So now, I’ve gotten in the habit of blowing into the mic a few times while I’m putting info in. It’s just stupid.

      • AxMi-24
      • 11 years ago

      Don’t you just love the super intelligent software that knows everything better than the user?

      Skype is going down the drain. They haven’t updated any of the skype in countries. They are still just repackagin the old stuff (old as in several years). New client is improvment only in waste of space and non functionality comapred to 3.8 version.

      It’s kinda sad. I like it (sync between several loged in computers, encryption, skype in, skype out) but it’s getting worse all the time. Just wish there was some decent alternative.

    • AxMi-24
    • 11 years ago

    Wow the new interface is just the suck. What kind of retard did that? Such a waste of space should be illegal even on todays larger monitors (I have 24″ and it’s still insanely bad).

    Lucky they allow classic version as it’s a lot better (if not exactly good).

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 11 years ago

    So I assume ya’ll will be using this for the podcast? Would you make a quick comment about that if is?

      • Mourmain
      • 11 years ago

      Yes, is it possible to record conversations yet?

      • jdrake
      • 11 years ago

      Yes – we use skype to create the conference calls to record our show. As for recording the call – I either use a recording software on my Mac (called Audio HiJack Pro) or each of the panelists records their own local audio and then I combine all of the channels (4-5 usually) to make the master track.

      We’ve been doing the latter solution for the past few episodes which is why our audio quality has seen some improvements.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 11 years ago

        Cool, thanks for explaining. I definitely think that the local-recording works really well, other than you having to work to combine them later.

    • Forge
    • 11 years ago

    q[

      • A_Pickle
      • 11 years ago

      You’re right. Clearly they’re abandoning your platform by simply releasing the Windows version (read: 80% of the market share) first. They aren’t doing smart business, they’re just spurning you alternate platform users.

      Pfft.

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