Please Skype Me:
Disruptive P2P VoIP Technology
Allows You To Call And Talk Free
To Any Windows PC
First Disruptive P2P VoIP Instant Messenger Challenges Phone Industry Rip-Off Pricing: Talk Live To Anyone With A PC Right Now!
Free Software Tool (Win 2K/XP, Mac OS X, Linux and Pocket PC)
Available in English, German and 18 other languages, Skype is new free live P2P audioconferencing tool for people using Windows XP, Windows 2000, Mac OS X, Linux and Pocket PC. Conceived by the same guys behind Kazaa, the famous P2P file and music sharing tool, Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom, Skype is a final statement confirming my repeated announcements that VoIP is ready for prime-time.
Skype is a very effective and well designed professional VoIP tool and I can safely assure that if you try it out for yourself you will not be disappointed. Skype allows VoIP under the very worst adverse conditions including users behind firewalls and NATs which have always had difficulties in properly communicating with other communication and conferencing tools.
Skype is based on the same FastTrack P2P network that Kazaa and other file sharing tool utilize. Unlike Yahoo Messenger Skype relies on a P2P (peer-to-peer) network, meaning that the voice packets being sent do not go over a centralized server that redistributes them, but are sent directly between users.
The advantage(s) of this over other similar new services like Vonage and Free World Dialup is that Skype does not rely on a centralized infrastructure to maintain the directory of users and to route each and every call. This means that for those services based on a centralized infrastructure costs scale proportionally with their user base while providing quality and reliability becomes always more difficult to achieve.
Skype appears as a simple to use instant messenger with a strong integrated voice over IP functionality. Installation, setup and ease of use get all top marks.
If you have used an instant messenger before there is nothing new to learn. Making a call is a simple as selecting a "friend".
Voice quality and latency (delay) is truly impressive. In my initial tests I have measured a transmission delay always below 500ms (less than half a second).
Echo cancellation features are seamlessly integrated and there is no problem in talking even when you have your speakers on (a typical and very fastidious problem of first generation VoIP systems).
There is nothing to press to talk and the microphone is always "open" on both sides. The version available now allows only one-to-one calls and it does well support all users on dial-up lines as slow as 33.6 Kbps.
An integrated and minimalistic text chat window provides support for text exchanges in a simple and unobtrusive fashion. If you're voice-talking to someone, you can still chat with someone else at the same time.
Considering that after downloading Skype you can be up and talking in less than 5 minutes I found this new id on the block a truly positive experience.
In just its first week of availability, 60,000 people downloaded the free Skype software. Other voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, such as Vonage or Free World Dialup (FWD), needed several months to attract the same level of interest. In the meantime Skype has been downloaded over 21 million times!
Skype and the people behind it have timely caught the tremendous opportunity left by a telephony market characterized by "rip-off pricing" and a reliance on heavily centralized infrastructures.
From what I have seen while testing Skype is the effective work done to resolve once and for all many of the typical problems and limitations inherent in VoIP systems. Delay, latency, drops, voice quality, bandwidth, echo cancellation, talking controls, automatic voice activation and more. Though Skype comes out with a victory on this front it is fair and honest to say that while voice quality can easily surpass audio phone quality, a few inherent problems remain for now hard to resolve completely.
Something for example that can be hardly avoided in voice communications over IP is the fact that when your computer starts doing something else on its own (download email, load a Web page in the background) voice packets do not make it as reliably as they should and you can have a few long silent moments or some broken up words.
Skype's user interface was designed with ease of use in mind , we tried to combine the ease of use of cell phones. Everyone knows how to use them. With instant messaging, it also gives you the ability to see when your friends are online.
Skype has adopted a few little touches in the "look and feel" of Skype that make this tool a true breeze to use. The addition of realistic ringing tones and hang up sounds make using Spyke as if it was a telephone an immediately rewarding experience.
I would personally expect Skype to have a tremendous viral effect in its ability to auto-promote and distribute itself. Something that all other pioneering VoIP systems never had enough momentum and popularity to leverage effectively. In its first week of availability Skype has been downloaded more than 60,000 times making it a very rapid achiever if compared to the time it too Kazaa to achieve the same clout.
Nothing better than Skype and similar communication tools can leverage the power of viral marketing as the best use for the tool can only be made when a friend or colleague has it as well.
One important advice if you decide to try out this tool is to immediately set your Privacy Preferences to accept incoming calls ONLY from elected friends. As I wasn't aware of this seeting, during my initial testing I received several calls from many different parts of the world from new Skype users who were looking for friendly people like me to talk to.
On a technical note Skype does NOT use SIP or other advanced communication protocols normally being used by other similar tools but the company remains open to make its technology interoperable with other VoIP solutions.
Minimum System Requirements:
PC running Windows 2000, XP or Linux
400 Mhz processor
10 MB free disk space on your hard drive
Sound Card, speakers and microphone
Internet Connection (either dial-up: minimum 33.6 Kbps modem, or any broadband: cable, DSL, etc.)
Macintosh computer with G3, G4 or G5 processor
Mac OS X v10.3 (Panther) or newer
128 MB RAM
20 MB free disk space on your hard drive
Internet connection (either dial-up: minimum 33.6 Kbps, or any broadband: cable, DSL, etc.)
Microsoft Pocket PC 2003 Operating System
WiFi and 400 MHz processor
For more info see Skype online at http://www.skype.com/
Download your free copy of Skype right here. (2.7 MB)