Skype releases beta for Mac OS X

Features are similar to those already available to Skype's Windows users. No video capability quite yet.

Skype has released a beta version of its latest client for Mac OS X users.

The new version, 1.5, of the voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) client boasts a new, more streamlined look. However, much of the functionality in the new Mac beta involves the sort of features that Skype's Windows users have enjoyed for some time, such as menu-selectable dialing codes and easy importation of address book contacts.

One feature that remains conspicuously absent is video calling, but Skype's community marketing manager, Jaanus Kase, told ZDNet UK on Tuesday that a Skype for Mac Video Preview also would be released.

He claimed it would be "exactly the same" as Skype for Mac OS X 1.5 Beta, but would include the video capability.

"Quite frankly, it's not done yet," Kase conceded, "but we had quite a lot of interest from Mac users (so we) put out a preview for the more technically adventurous users."

Skype allows users to make free calls over the Internet to other Skype users, and cut-price calls to fixed-line and mobile numbers . It has proved popular with both consumers and businesses--Skype estimates that one in three users is a mobile professional.

Mac-based users make up a small minority of Skype's overall user base, said Kase, although exact figures are unavailable. He described them as "very often much more vocal" and "an intriguing, inspiring community to work with," adding that the Mac-using community would hopefully be able to help Skype "refine" the video feature.

Skype for Mac 1.5 Beta and Skype for Mac video preview can both be downloaded from the company's site.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.

 

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