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Skype Lite for Android is a throwback to a simpler (better?) Skype

Skype got a major overhaul on Android earlier this year, but the unreleased Skype Lite harkens back to the old school design of the video and messaging service.

Skype Lite is aimed at the mobile market in India, and in this case, "unreleased" means possibly unstable. But depending on your Android device and region, you may still be able to install it. The design is much simpler than the new Skype, and it would be great to see a version of this app make its way to a wider audience.

Quite a few Skype users have pushed back against the latest design changes to the main Skype app on Android. The added bells and whistles, Snapchat-esque features, and new design are certainly different and haven't been well received by many. In contrast, Skype Lite has very few extra features and focuses on being a basic video and messaging app. And that's a good thing.

See on the Google Play Store (opens in new tab)

Skype without Snapchat

Skype Lite is split into three main headers: calls, chats, and discover, which is for bots. You can easily jump between these and message or call people or bots just like you would on normal Skype.

Skype Lite is purposefully made to be basic. There's no following people on yet another social network, and there's no capture feature. The app is just easier to use than the new version of Skype.

Skype Lite has a handy hamburger menu, rather than a plus icon that doesn't help that much. And it still lets you send photos within message threads just by tapping on a camera icon. Navigating the app is easy and familiar.

One design choice that adds extra steps is that to open your SMS messages you have to tap SMS insights to switch over to your texts. But overall, the app is very fluid.

Lite but usable

Design doesn't mean much without function, and Skype Lite doesn't disappoint. Messaging is quick, and video calls work well. It does precisely what a Lite version of an app is supposed to: deliver the basics of a service while being easier on your phone and data.

The features that are available are very basic. But for most users on mobile devices, Skype Lite is completely fine. It lets you talk to your friends, family, and colleagues without any fuss.

The app also supports SMS messaging, but it does not support the SMS relay that is seen on the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform (UWP) versions of Skype. The app supposedly also has SMS insights that automatically categorize messages for you, but in our testing, we couldn't get this feature to work.

Summing things up

Using Skype Lite makes it frustrating to use the new version of Skype on Android. Skype Lite is easy to navigate, does what you need it to do, and doesn't try to be something it isn't.

When you throw in support for SMS messaging, and the fact that it's designed to be lightweight, it can be argued that Skype Lite is the best version of Skype on Android, though at the moment it is still an unreleased app. Hopefully, in the future, Skype Lite goes mainstream and is available in all regions.

This app isn't generally available, and it's still rough around the edges, so we're not giving it a rating quite yet. But it shows a lot of promise and is great to use if it's available to you. You just might like it better than the full version of the app.

See on the Google Play Store (opens in new tab)

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

30 Comments
  • This should be Microsoft's Dialer app for Android phones. If they could merge regular calls, SMS (with relay), and Skype calls all in one, then they'd have a fully Microsoft experience on the Android side. All that's missing is a Camera/Photos app with OneDrive and Living Image support. 
  • other than camera app, it's still missing bing maps and movie&tv
  • Let's be realistic tho, who would use Bing Maps? Not only are they inferior to Google Maps, the latter are also preloaded on every Android device. That's an investment that is unlikely to pay off.
  • I'm all for a few more Microsoft apps on Android but they can keep Windows/Bing Maps. It's truly awful and stuck so far in the past now. HereWeGo is Android and iOS equivalent to it picking up where Here left off on Windows phones. I don't use it much but for transit information and public transport its still excellent. Google Maps and Apple Maps are so much better than Windows Maps that it's pretty pointless. Even Waze, TomTom etc are leaps and bounds better
  • Grab HERE maps for the 'Windows Phone' map experience on Android.  It's still excellent.
  • Great article!
  • So, it's basically as feature crippled as the UWP version, but works?
  • This is why Microsoft is a mess under Nutella...how many God damn versions of Skype are there Now? Does anyone know? Are they all comparable? How many are being labeled as BETA for 3 yrs as an excuse for crappy coding? First they work with ur SMS, then they don't, then they do. Holy he'll. MAKE ONE VERSION, MAKE IT GOOD, AND STICK TO THE DAMN THING.
  • Actually, a lot of Skype is now running the same code (since May). It's becoming basically a PWA over time with many of the core elements already there. It'll get even closer in further releases. It's why there were layoffs earlier this year as platform-specific coders are being let go. There was a shift/change from platform-native to a PWA-lite version over the last year and a half; the latter won and now you're seeing the fallout from that.
  • Good to know, but honestly I stopp3d using it after I realized I didn't have the effort to keep up with the shell and nut game.
  • @Daniel Rubino. That's disappointing if it means we will be stuck with the flawed presence controls going forward. I have had to leave my desktop (win32) logged in just so I get messages (sms) and I don't have skype set to handle my sms. Everything was working fine until they started messing around with things, as a visible indicator it started when the presence controls were changed to the current system (although minusically improved but no better). Not to mention reliability has fallen to an all time low for instant messaging. Now I am having to deal with psychological aspects that most people do not even think about - suchas "if I am online - that means I am available to respond, since I don't respond instanteously as I used to before I'm apparently ignoring them.. .when in fact I could be asleep (since the concept of timezones doesn't occur to most people), at lecture, commuting underground". Plus If I was pre-occupied I would set my status to away or busy but now setting my presence to either of them marks me as invisible or offline. So people send me a text (sms) - which disappears into the ether - I have no idea what the skype team has done to mess up basic sms - thus people think I am ignoring them. Given my cell provider has spotty network coverage in some places, my phone diverts straight to voicemail - after which I'd get a text message. But since Skype has taken over my sms - I don't get that text alert - as result people think I am ignoring them. What an absolute mess. So to salvage my social circle, I have had to move everyone away from skype and to whatsapp. But there are some people who refuse to switch over so I have no choice but to still use skype.
  • You mean just like WhatsApp which everyone uses now instead? If anyone was ever logged into Skype i might use it. 
  • Awesome. Snapchat Skype app uninstalled. Skype Lite installed. Black theme applied.
  • Set it as my default sms but changed right back. Stupid how the sms messages aren't in your main chat screen. You have to go into Sms insights. Am I missing something?
  • Nice one . Now we need an xbox lite app . One that does not take forever to load .
  • And I dislike Skype lite even more
  • Can we have Skype 'even lighter' and remove the 'discover' tab? Since the mess on the last upgrade, my friends and family have started using whatsapp. Probably won't change back until there is a compelling reason to do so, and I can't see that happening anytime soon. The skype strategy seems more fragmented than ever.
  • So 2 things: 1) it doesn't support group txt and 2) for some reason it puts my Bluetooth headset into listening automatically when opened.
  • Repost from yesterday. Maybe Skype Lite is faster, but why..  This is not what's currently broken with Skype. I've used it in ALL platforms. It remains, to this very moment, the worst of them all (and stay with me here) for MESSAGING! Out of Hangouts, Allo, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and many others I've tried. Skype is the worst one I WANT to love.  It has the most lag, sending messages, takes the longest  to sync chats, many on screen app redraws, respring or reloading upon coming back into the chat from many shortcuts or replies, and the worst notification realibility. Why this is I have absolutely no idea. They were once number one. Like I said. I actually want to love it. I like the new features that's been added despite the community feedback. I enjoy the themes. I simply want it to do what it should do the best and most often. Be a reliable messenger service. 
  • Did you try Skype lite then?
  • Yes. Missing features, by design, but it does work faster.
  • What about presence controls? Does it have the same controls as the desktop win32 app or the current flawed implementation?
  • It's just gotten better now in the UWP.
  • Marginally, still no better than a rotting pile of tomatoes.
  • Dunno man. Works for me as intended. The others you mention have their quirks too.
  • I see. they do have their quirks but they are vastly more reliable than skype. As it's apparent that they understand unreliability does not make for positive experiences. Therefore they do not constantly mess around with back end changes.
  • I've said it a million times. Skype is dead. Maybe it sticks around in the enterprise but that's about it. WhatsApp is just way better. How hard can it be for the Skype devs to add a freaking option to delete a conversation. How hard can it be to STOP IMPORTING EVERY GOD DAMN CONTACT INTO SKYPE NO MATTER HOW HARD I TRY TO TURN THAT FEATURE OFF EVERYWHERE. I HATE SKYPE, I UNINSTALLED IT A MONTH AGO AFTER YEARS OF HORROR.
  • WHATEVER. Skype is NOT that bad, anyone who has trouble with Skype and says it's complicated is ridiculous...I'm sorry, but I have zero sympathy for you. Like get help and see a therapist 👀
  • epic Sean and Zac are with windows central wooo
  • I just wish Skype for Android would be like it was for Windows Phone. Be able to send SMS on phone, Surface, and PC. All working together with relay. Right now Skype has 3 consumer apps on Android and 1 business app, none of these can do this. I am happy I can use Skype for SMS on the phone now but the SMS replay was a feature that was supposed to happen with Windows 10 almost a year ago if I am not mistaken, April 2017, then it was pushed off to Fall 2017 and still does not work unless I pay them like 12 cents a text lol.