Microsoft has updated Skype for Android today, bringing a few important tweaks for tablet users. The new Skype brings audio and video support outside the app, giving us depth of use. Essentially, we get to multitask while still using Skype for video or audio calls.
Skype notes the changes as “a picture in picture window that lets you see your video call even when you switch away to other applications”. Free accounts will still see ads, and Skype is now updated for use with TalkBack. The app update is also tablet exclusive, so don’t expect a cohesive experience across Android devices.
For those who use Skype, the Play Store page changelog also notes video quality improvements, which is obviously reliant on your data connection. Oddly, that seems to be the extent of the changes, and the reviews hint there should be much more. Users are still reporting issues when using it in tandem with iOS devices, and the persistent issue with accessing contacts remains. Login also remains problematic, which would negate any improvements made altogether.
Skype may have been a great desktop solution for video conferencing in 2009, but no more. With the advent of utilities like Hangouts, or Facetime for iOS, we don’t see a need for Skype. Their poor execution on the app side — where it really matters — only signals they don’t get it, either. With Microsoft needing a strong presence in mobile, this just doesn’t cut it. Multitasking is great, but without the ability to use contacts or login, does it matter?