Skype today announced the release of Skype™ 2.8 Beta for Mac, the latest version of its internet communications software for Mac users. This new release, which was first demonstrated during ShowStoppers® at the Macworld Conference & Expo® in San Francisco, contains a number of new Skype features, including Skype Access™ and screen sharing. Both of these features will be built into versions of Skype for other operating systems sometime in 2009.
Skype Access is a worldwide, pay-per-minute WiFi hotspot access service provided by Boingo Wireless® and enabled by Skype. Skype Access allows Skype users to connect to any of the more than 100,000 Boingo WiFi hotspots worldwide - including airports, hotels, cafes and metropolitan hot zones - with a single click, and to pay per minute only for what they use with Skype Credit. Skype Access scans for available WiFi hotspots and presents a pop-up dialogue box displaying the price-per-minute to use the Boingo network using Skype Credit. With Skype Access, you only pay for what you use, and there's no need to fiddle with credit cards or log-in details.
The price to use Skype Access to connect to a Boingo WiFi hotspot is based on a flat, global rate of €0.14/$0.19 per minute (€0.16/$0.22 incl. VAT), which will vary based on currency. There are no connection fees or monthly charges for Skype Access. Boingo's Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy apply and access to all Internet services will be provided on a simple, per minute billing basis. You can keep tabs on how much you've spent using Skype Access by signing in to your account on skype.com. When you stop Skype Access, the amount will be deducted from your Skype Credit balance.
"The goal of the major new features in Skype 2.8 Beta for Mac is to makes Skype easier to use everywhere," said Scott Durchslag, Skype's Chief Operating Officer. "Skype Access is perfect for those times when you need to make a few Skype calls or send some instant messages or emails while you're on the go, and screen sharing is a productivity tool that enables collaboration between two parties, regardless of their location."
The new screen sharing function in Skype 2.8 Beta for Mac enables you to show others something you are working on or to explain how to do something. Similar to a Skype video call, it works by capturing, encrypting and transferring the content of your screen in real-time to the person you are sharing your screen with. Once there, the content is decrypted and shown to the other person on their screen. If you are using Skype 2.8 Beta for Mac, you are also able to share your screen with Skype for Windows and Skype for Linux users, but cannot see theirs (yet).
Skype 2.8 Beta for Mac newly incorporates a number of other nice Skype features:
- Improved chat management: you can sort chats in the drawer and set priorities to chats
- Quick Add: it's now much easier to add people to chats
- Mood message chat: see mood message updates from your friends as chat messages
- Large profile pictures: just like Skype 4.0 Beta 2 for Windows, you can now use images of up to 256 x 256 pixels
- Hidden avatars in incoming contact requests: a small minority of Skype users have profile pictures which others may find unpleasant, and so they're now hidden by default in contact requests
- Add notes to contacts: you can add notes to a contact in their profile window - handy for keeping track of who's who.
Skype 2.8 Beta for Mac is available for download at skype.com/go/macosx-beta.