Skype, now a Microsoft company, launched the group video calling feature for Mac back in 2010 and was free in it’s beta stage, but in 2011 it came out of beta and was only released to Premium users.
FaceTime was introduced by Apple in 2010 and has gained popularity since. With more products such as Macs, iPad 2 and iPod touch being supported, the video-call software has become more flexible.
Today Skype announced the 5.3 update for Mac OS X which brings HD video calls to Lion among a handful of other UI enhancements and bug fixes. The official Skype blog explains:
With Skype 5.3 for Mac OS X, you’ll also be able to send and receive HD quality video when talking to your friends and family. You’ll need to use the Mac’s built-in webcam or choose from a variety of webcams from our Skype Shop, such as the Logitech C910, to make video calls in crystal clear HD quality. To receive clear HD video calls on your Mac, we recommend an upload/download speed of 1.5Mbps.
While previous versions of Skype, even 2.8, seem to run rather well on Lion, official support should iron out any bugs you’ve been noticing since upgrading. The new update is not only available for Lion users, however, Skype’s blog post notes it is also compatible back to Leopard.
You can grab Skype 5.3 for Mac OS X here. We’ll let you know if we find anything else interesting in this latest update.
Mac users have already been able to do some group video calling with recent beta versions of Skype, but the company has now finally brought things fully up to speed with its Windows counterpart and released the final version of Skype 5.0 for OS X. In addition to group video calling, the application sports a whole new interface that Skype says has been “slimmed down” (compared to the previous beta versions, at least) and allows you to see 30 percent more contacts at once. As with the Windows version, however, that group video calling feature has now been relegated to the premium package which, after a free seven-day trial, will run you $4.99 for a day pass or $8.99 a month for a subscription (though you can get 33 percent off if you sign up before February 28th). Head on past the break for quick video overview.
All signs have been pointing to this release for a few days now, but we’ll admit: we expected Skype to wait until CES next week to pull the covers off what could become its crown jewel service over the coming months. Skype’s official iOS client has finally sprouted the ability to make video calls, allowing iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and fourth-generation iPod touch users to share real-time video amongst each other and users of Skype’s Windows, Mac, and Linux clients along with the ASUS Videophone (obviously, 3GS users won’t have the convenience of a front-facing camera, but they’ll still be able to broadcast video from the rear-facing one). Additionally, you’ll be able to receive video from others if you’re using an iPad or a third-generation iPod touch. The service is free and works over both WiFi and 3G — and considering Skype’s existing PC footprint, we’d argue this stands a very real chance of putting the hurt on FaceTimeusage. No word on when Skype will be making video-capable clients available for Android or other mobile platforms, but Skype says that there’ll be “plenty more” announcements in Vegas next week, so we wouldn’t be surprised.
Not stoked on Skype or FaceTime? Looks like you’ve got another option, bub. That overhauled Yahoo Messenger app we told you about 48 hours ago is now live in the App Store, offering multitasking on the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, 3G / WiFi video calling (iOS to iOS, iOS to Android or iOS to PC) and instant notifications. Users interested in making voice calls can also tap into their bucket of Yahoo Voice Phone Out minutes, but it’ll only work in America, France, Germany, Spain and Singapore at the moment. Hit that source link to get your download on, cool?
Honestly, from this distance it’s hard to tell what’s going on, but 9 to 5 Mac says we’re looking at a next-gen camera-equipped iPad fielded specifically to test video calls. As you may recall, iPhone software surfaced with a very similar menu just weeks before the iPhone 4 came out, which either means someone was inspired to create a clever ‘shop, or that we just got our first real glimpse at iProd 4,1. Oh, and Mr. Extreme Closeup? He’s our friend Blurrycam’s old college roommate, didn’t you know?
The folks over at 9to5Mac have kept up their investigation of FaceTime over 3G with a quick and dirty data usage analysis. Lest you’ve forgotten, jailbreaking Apple’s Quattro permits walled garden escapees to FaceTime each other using dusty old 3G, and now we’ve got some numbers to show how much of an impact doing so will have on your bandwidth allowance.