Luxembourg-based Skype has formed a collaboration with Logitech to launch ‘High Quality Video’, which will enable users to make free video calls worldwide leveraging the Skype software.
High Quality Video offers improved image detail and clarity and enables users to network without buying and installing video-conferencing equipment. It requires Skype 3.6 software, a 2.0-GHz dual-core processor, a gigabyte of random access memory (RAM), and a minimum of 384 Kbits per second upstream and downstream internet bandwidth.
It also requires a high quality video-certified webcam such as the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000, QuickCam Pro for Notebooks, and the QuickCam Orbit AF. These webcams offer a Carl Zeiss lens and an autofocus system for fluid focusing. Logitech’s autofocus system refocuses images in less than three seconds and ensures that images remain sharp even in extreme close-ups.
This is a major leap in the clarity and smoothness of free video calls over the internet, said Gareth O’Loughlin, general manager for mobile and hardware devices at Skype. High Quality Video is a tremendous opportunity to delight our more than 246 million users and take their Skype experience to a whole new level. One in four Skype calls already involve video, so we know our users love to show and not just tell. In the past, only big businesses could afford this kind of video quality. It’s now time to take it to everyone else.
Skype 3.6 for Windows is expected to be available as a free download at Skype’s web site in November 2007 and it is expected to support 28 languages.
The Logitech QuickCam software version 11.5 is available for free download on its web site. The Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 and Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks webcams are available worldwide for a retail price of $99.99 and the Logitech QuickCam Orbit AF is available for $129.99. The webcams are also available for purchase at the web site of Skype.
Skype and Logitech also partnered in 2006 when Logitech launched a wireless Skype phone. The Skype phone was launched with a color display and caller id, and it enabled users to connect to their host computer within a limited distance. The handset also supported SkypeOut dialing, in addition to the Skype contact list.
A similar videoconferencing service was provided by SightSpeed, a web conferencing vendor. The SightSpeed Business videoconferencing service is based on the software-as-a-service interface. The service was priced at $19.95 per seat per month and $189.95 per seat annually, and required a broadband connection and a webcam.
Skype is also strengthening its presence in internet voice calls. It partnered with internet devices manufacturer IPEVO to launch SOLO, a stand-alone Skype desktop internet phone that enables users to make Skype voice calls without a computer, in October 2007.
Source: ComputerWire daily updates