March 1st update: We have now completed our global roll-out of group video calling on iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets. Now, users on these platforms have the freedom to enjoy totally free group get-togethers anytime, anywhere — and with anyone they want. Group video calling will also be rolling out soon to users on Windows 10 Mobile.
Just a few weeks ago, we announced the next evolution of Skype — group video calling on mobile phones and tablets. Tens of thousands of you pre-registered to get a sneak-peak, giving us invaluable feedback that helped us fine-tune the experience. So a huge thank you for helping us get group video calling on mobile just right; we couldn’t have got there without you.
Today, we’ve started rolling out group video calling on iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets in Western Europe and North America and we expect to have completed our roll-out to these markets over the next week or so. We plan to be fully available worldwide in March. Soon, everyone will have the freedom to enjoy totally free group get-togethers anytime, anywhere — and with anyone they want.
At Skype 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. Here are some of the things you can look forward to on your next group video calling experience.
Super clear HD quality
For the ultimate get together experience, group video calls are in glorious HD quality and optimized specifically for the device you’re using, giving a more natural feel to the call. The person talking is displayed front and center and video is immersive and full screen. Audio is also crystal clear, thanks to our SILK Super Wide Band audio codec in our cloud conferencing stack. To achieve this, we’re proud to have worked with one of Microsoft’s biggest partners, Intel, which helped enable us to optimize SILK Audio specifically for Azure running on Intel processors.
Bringing everyone together
Now that group video calling is available on all platforms, nobody gets left out. Whether you’re on a laptop, desktop, mobile or tablet, everyone can be part of the fun without having to plan and schedule — spontaneous get-togethers can just happen, whenever the mood takes you.
Also, in the spirit of making sure everyone can be part of the fun, we’ve increased the number of people who can have a video call from 5 to 25. So don’t forget to add your aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews to your next call.
Flexible interface lets you choose your preferred view
We’ve built an experience optimized for mobile and tablet screens. You can flip between a highly immersive grid view that makes you feel like you’re in the same room, or you can switch to focus view where Skype automatically focuses on the active speaker, or lets you choose which participant to ‘Pin’ to the stage. The latter view works particularly well when you have a large group on the call.
Inviting absolutely anyone
To make it even easier to get talking, a few months ago we announced a simple new way to invite anyone to a Skype call from a computer. We have now extended this to Skype for iPhone, iPad and Android, so that you can use this feature to invite anyone to a pre-existing group conversation. The best thing is that they don’t need to be in your Skype contact list — or even have a Skype account. All you need to do is start a chat on your iPhone, iPad or Android and share the unique conversation link however you want — via email, WhatsApp, Messenger, Twitter or Facebook. If they have Skype, they’ll join your conversation by clicking on the link and if they don’t, they can join the group video call on a computer using Skype for Web.
We hope you’re as excited as we are about group video calling on mobile. To make sure you’re included in the roll out for this, as well as other exciting new features, always make sure you’re on the latest version of Skype.