Microsoft has started rolling out group video calling for Skype that will allow users of the mobile app to video chat with up to 24 other people at the same time. The company is extending the capability to iPhone, iPad and Android phones and tablets in Western Europe and North America from 19 February.
Group video calls have been available on the desktop version of Skype for some time but the mobile app has until now lacked the capability. Microsoft announced in January that it planned to push this to additional devices and said that "tens of thousands" had pre-registered to trial the new feature in January. The company has also upped the number of people who can be chatting at once from five to 25.
Users can chat in video HD video in either a grid mode that shows all the participants on-screen at once or a "focus view" that changes to display whoever is talking. Users are also able to "pin" certain participants to keep them in the foreground as well as invite users who don't have Skype to join the conversation by sending a web link, which can then be accessed via a desktop browser.
Microsoft said it expects to have completed the rollout by March 2016. It comes amidst a number of new features to hit the voice over IP service in recent months as it looks to fend off rival services, including real-time translation services and 3D Touch support for Apple's iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.