July 2, 2013
Microsoft Updates Skype For Android 4.0
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
If you have an Android handset or tablet, you may have noticed that Skype updated this morning. That's because Microsoft updated with Skype for Android 4.0. The makeover is modeled somewhat after the new Skype app built for Windows 8, with a much more graphical interface.The new Skype app has a similar look to the PC version, as well as the Windows Phone 8 version, and makes it easy to start a conversation with a contact either by instant message, phone call or video chat.
Skype's goal is to put conversations first, but also to focus on quality and performance across multiple platforms.
"Today we're excited to deliver in two of those areas with the all-new Skype for Android 4.0," said Microsoft's Derek Snyder in a post on Microsoft's Big Blog.
The Android team created the new app, which is very much in line with Skype on other platforms. "We started to reimagine what Skype would look like back when we launched our Windows Phone 8 app late last year," Snyder wrote. "Our focus was simple: we wanted to deliver an app that makes your interactions easier and puts conversations first. Our Android team saw the great work and wanted to deliver an equally bold, beautiful and modern design in this latest Skype for Android release."
The app has a clean new look, and puts contacts and communications channels to each contact in an easily-accessible format where users can tap to chat. "When you tap or swipe over to the Contacts of Favorites tabs, tapping on a person brings you right into a messaging window so you can start a conversation. And from there video calls, voice calls and everything else are just one tap away," Snyder wrote.
Skype also reached the milestone of 100 million Android installs worldwide. That means the new update will reach over 100 million users. While it is a big number, Skype comes pre-installed on many phones, and is standard on handsets carried by Verizon Wireless, among other carriers.
The milestone, along with the new app design, help advance Skype's goal of advancing its mobile presence. In a post on the same blog last week Derek Snyder wrote about Skype's mobile future. He said while the goal of Skype is so "the whole world can talk for free," most people think of Skype as "a free video calling app for your PC or Mac."
"We love that; that got us to where we are today," Snyder wrote. "But, as we all know, the world has changed. People's computers are just as much in their pockets as on their desks, and Skype has grown up right along with this increasingly mobile world."
Skype usage has picked up. Snyder said there are more people using Skype on their phone or tablet than a PC at certain points in the day.
Goals for Skype for Android, and other mobile devices, are to make Skype more reliable and less power hungry. Mobile versions of Skype mix the ability to use Wi-Fi and data. Verizon, for example, routes all calls through data, even when Wi-Fi is available. All domestic calls made on Skype are handled by Verizon, and subject to Verizon billing while international calls are billed through Skype. Still, many users would appreciate the ability to use Wi-Fi to make calls on Skype when possible to save on data allowances.