Skype for Android is seeing an important update roll out, as the app makes some needed improvements to battery life and notification handling. The Skype team has also fixed a bug for their app on KitKat devices that caused a camera process to run wild and drain battery life.
Skype says their improvements will allow users to run the app in the background all day “without noticeably affecting battery life”. To accomplish this, Skype says they’ve completely re-worked the way the app operates, and they’re finally confident enough to release it to us. They also say the rebuild is ongoing, and unfinished — meaning we should take their promises here with a hint of levity.
Group chat notifications have also been disabled by default to help with the battery performance, though that’s a bandaid solution. Skype promises we’ll be able to get the notifications back as a default in a future iteration, but they’ve been disabled for now. If you’re a group-chatter who needs to be in the know, you can dig into settings and reactivate them, but beware — your battery life will likely suffer as a result.
Maybe the biggest headache for Skype users on KitKat was that the app caused a camera process to spiral out of control. The issue was noted in a Google Bug Watch last week, and caused a lot of headaches for some users. Skype also made some improvements to Bluetooth audio handling, and lists Windows Live contacts in your default Skype view. It may not be as good as Hangouts (yet), but these are still some pretty big steps toward their overall goal of improving our mobile experience.