Earlier this year it announced the free release of its “super wideband audio codec” (called SILK) for anyone else to use, free of charge, hoping to set a new higher standard for voice over data networks and thus improving voice quality for all.
Other announcements also included a Skype for SIP/PABX gateway and a massive increase in Skype traffic during 2008, registering a 41% increase over 2007 levels.
Skype 4.0 for Windows has been a fantastic upgrade for Skype users, unifying the desktop interface, making alerts simpler and much more obvious, while the audio quality has evolved to be better than ever.
The iSkoot Skype app for Symbian phones has also seen an update, bringing Skype chats (text messages) to Nokia users natively for the first time too, previously only possible with Skype compatible apps such as Fring.
Thankfully, Skype avoided calling its iPhone Skype app “Skyphone” and its Skype for Blackberry app “Skyperry”, although they might have been kinda cool, too, if the names are actually still available and Skype wanted to have a bit of fun.
Where to now for Skype? Well, work must be afoot on alpha versions of Skype 5.0 for Windows, but it would be nice to see all of the various Skype versions for PC and smartphone platforms become feature unified across the board, as much as possible.
For the most part, voice, text chats and video calls are possible across PC, Mac and Linux Skype versions, but Skype video calls on mobile handsets are missing in action.
Clearly it's technically possible, especially with video calling already standard in most developed countries outside of the US - I can only imagine telcos simply don't yet want a free video competitor when existing video calling options (almost always more expensive than stanard voice calls) aren't used often enough as it is.
Getting ever more feature parity across versions, while continuing to push the envelope, are likely priorities over at Skype HQ, and as Skype fan I welcome the new developments and look forward to more rapidly evolving from the web’s coolest Internet calling company: Skype.