Skype for Windows Phone 8 gets a small update today with some new refinements

While Skype on Windows Phone 8 still falls short of the more seamless experience on Android, the chaps at Microsoft and Skype are at least working their tails off to improve the Windows Phone experience. Such is the case with the steady stream of monthly updates to the popular VOIP service, with the last occurring on July 9th.

Version should be going live in the Store right now for users, meaning if you follow the link below you can force update the app instead of waiting 12 hours for your Store tile to refresh. More interestingly, Skype actually included a changelog with the update and it’s more than the usual “bug fixes”.

Skype for Windows Phone 8

Version brings the following new experience to Windows Phone:

  • It’s now even easier to find who you’re looking for, simply filter your People list to only show Skype contacts.
  • See even more favorite contacts at a glance with the new and improved layout.
  • General fixes and speed improvements.

The Skype blog goes on to describe those changes in more detail, noting: 

  • People List Filter – We received feedback from users that they’d like to see Windows Phone contacts and Skype contacts split out in the Skype People List. So, in 2.9 we’ve added a filter so you can see either all your contacts, just Skype contacts, or only available contacts.
  • Home Screen – The Skype home screen has been improved so that users can now pivot through app functions. The Favorite Contact tiles are now smaller, fitting three across on the screen so it is faster for you to contact the people you care about most.

Certainly the filter and new layout are the most interesting of the bunch. Indeed we’ve always been mixed on the old layout because while it was bright and bold, it was also a bit cramped at times. Regarding “general fixes and speed improvements”, we’ll never turn those down as the lag to getting into Skype has always been a downer on Windows Phone. Unfortunately, Video Messages are still missing.

You can pick up Skype for Windows Phone 8 version 2.9.0129 here in the Store, scan the QR code below or swipe right in our app. Are things better? Let us know in comments.

Source: Skype Blog (opens in new tab); Via: Plaffo

QR: skype

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • So still no video messages? Lame!
  • Lol.
  • WP7 user here (still on contract).  Anyone remember us?  We're the ones who still can't get calls unless the app is open.
  • What is this WP7 you speak of? :P There's a reason why WP7 won't get calls unless the app is open, the Windows CE architecture won't allow it.
  • Its not Windows CE Architecture.. Windows CE is kick ass OS.. its the way Windows Phone 7 is designed. It has nothing to do with Windows CE.. Heard about Windows Mobile? Most advance mobile OS of its time could do all this way before iPhone could do.. and Windows Mobile was completely based on Windows CE.
  • +1.
  • You know, considering how cheap some of Nokia's newer Lumias are there really is no reason to not have upgraded or planning to upgrade to WP8 soon, granted the low-cost phones are available in your country.
  • +520
  • Seems faster (lol)
  • Obligatory "I think it loads faster" comment.
  • You got the joke ;) Didn't even download it yet when I posted :P
  • LOL, no kidding: It's super fast now! :O
  • Actually, to be honest, the app starts really faster with every new version. And it is noticeable even now.
  • It is faster to open, it's noticeable, since previously was really slow.
  • Alright! At this pace, by version 5.1 it will be so fast that it will open way before you install the app.
  • Waiting for the ability to close discussions. :/
  • Seriously where is picture sharing and animated emoticons. Only every other messaging app can share pictures what in the world is so difficult about it? Line, whatsapp, wechat...????
  • Sweet update...they reduced the font size of the headings and added a column to the favorites list. This is seriously getting inexcusable.
  • I always have the feeling it drains my battery. Can anyone tell me something about this?
  • Yeah I get that feeling as well.
  • Take some Tylenol and that feeling will go away.
  • I would say so.
    This morning I unplugged my phone for 15 minutes and it went from 100% to 73% :/
    Earlier it wasn't that bad, but I would be hemorrhaging battery like crazy.
    I believe its the People Hub integration that is causing the problem.
  • Things have been great for me ever since I picked up the Lumia 1020 with GDR2
  • Ha! Just tipped this. Funny but it does indeed seems to load faster. Even on video calls, smoother might I add.
  • wierd update just before GDR2, could it be relevant?
  • app is still garbage until it reaches the level of integration the current messaging app has
  • aah c'om''s useable and does all of the basic skype functions. getting skype calls and messages. I don't need the funky video share/emoticon stuff.
    I'm sure integration with Messaging app will come later, but it's not a "Must Have" (for me anyway). it works great the way it is for the most part.
  • As a basic function at least add picture sharing. Its pretty important when you need to send quick images for work and not require the opponent to open his email to check each time.
    Rest I can wait but the question is why hold back when other platforms have it all. Its their own game.
  • The app works... why a garbage?
  • Doesn't work very well. 
    If you're signed in you will get calls. If you set it as invisible on the phone then it sets your computer's Skype as invisible, too! You have to LOG OUT of Skype on the phone to stop it from notifying you. This is annoying because it makes you put your username and password in again to log in. On Android the Skype app will save your username and password and log in automatically when you open it next time.  Notifications are STILL unreliable. Sometimes I'll get messages hours after they were sent. I've even had it start ringing a long time after a person called. And say you are signed in on your phone and your PC. Call comes in and they both ring. You answer from your PC. The phone will continue to ring for a minute or so! Incredibly frustrating! Android version doesn't have this issue.  Oh and how about the wonderful glitch where it doesn't automatically scroll to the bottom of the thread when a message is sent or received? I have to manually scroll down a lot! Incredibly frustrating. They need to fix this garbage. I couldn't care less about video messaging.
  • Yeah. Microsoft buyed Skype years ago and starts integrating Skype very, very slowly. They needed two years to make a Microsoft Account Login happen and integration. Now in Windows 8.1 it will replace Messaging App and allow to answer Skype calls on the lockscreen. I really hope they will do the same on Windows Phone 8.1!
  • the current level of messaging integration app .. like no proper group chats? no pictures in messages? not all messages delivered and displayed? some conversations not available at all. 
  • you really want it to reach messaging integration level :s we all know how that is working, i keep facebook turnd off all the time becasue its useless.
  • I still like the idea of a Message hub though. Just get rid of Messages app in wp and win8 and replace it with Skype that supports at least Facebook chat and sms conversations.
    I'd really start loving it if they allowed sms to sync via skype to my computer so I could send and recieve texts through my computer. Kind of like KIES and the older nokia suites allow you to do.
  • Agreed.
  • I stopped using Skype on my phone as it would just freak out whenever I'd have a convo on my desktop. Does it still do that? Have the also added the function to log out?
  • This was essentially fixed in the previous update.  Now, instead of showing you 99+ messages, it shows you a notification per conversation.
  • My store tile won't even update...
  • I think it refreshes every 12 hours. And since it was only just released I think you are only going to see it tomorrow, unless you force update.
  • Mine updated before this article was written.
  • Just open Store app, search for skype and it will give you the option to update.
  • Thanks, guys. But the tile hasn't updated for weeks now...
  • Arg... I want to see only available Skype contacts.  Also, I want to disable the favorites page... I don't have a use for it with my dozen contacts!
  • I really don't understand how it can take so damn long to bring WP version on par with Android and iOS. I means, Jesus...its been more than a year now?
  • Maybe MS assign junior developers to WP.  Hopefully this isn't the case. /s
  • So a Microsoft owned app isn't as good on a Microsoft phone compared to android and IOS. Cuz that makes sense.
  • Lol inb4 Apple/Android trolls.
  • It does make sense in the MS universe.
  • Does the Skype app finally run in the background like it was supposed to from the start?
  • I think it always did run. I always got Skype calls even when i hadn't fired up the app. :)
  • yeah it works just fine, i always get calls even when its closed, i dont know whats wrong with yours
  • For over than 1 month it has NOT been working fine for me. Now (even after the update) I'm not always on because as soon as I leave the app I appear offline and I won't receive any message/call. Skype support is a joke: I posted an entry into their blog and I didn't get any answer from them (and there are a lot of people on the same situation). Right now this app is useless at my phone :(
  • My Skype app NEVER ran in the background. Granted, I haven't used it in a while, but ever since I got it it hasn't worked.
  • Does NIST use Skype❔
  • My store tile has stopped updating for almost a week now. I cant see new updates and even soft resets haven't worked. Can anyone help me with that.? Thanks. :)
  • That's on Microsofts side.. We can't help you with that.. But, maybe you should unpin it, soft reset, then repin it, to see if that gets it back online.. IDK..
  • Ahh..perhaps it'll doesn't show the updates even when i fire it up. I don't understand what's wrong. Thanks anyway though. :)
  • I think this is pretty lame and perfect example about what can so fustrating about MS. They own Skype. Yet they can't even get it to work properly with their own OS. And they bought it specifically for that very purpose. Why doesn't anyone ever ask these questions of Joe or Steve when they have the chance. "Steve, with the your aquisition of Skype as an attempt to one up other companies with messaging and video call integration, why is this service still lackluster and actually a step backwards from where the service used to be when it was independent?" "Steve, this same analysis could be said of other MS services and products, care to explain?"
  • I'd love to see Skype fully integrated into the OS with the need of the app optional.
  • Steve - "No."
  • I'm able to type much faster on my phone keyboard after the update.
  • LOL!
  • I've been able to run faster. Thanks Microsoft!
  • Daniel don't give them a pass this app should have been the best mobile app from jump street, it shouldn't be behind just like windows phone.
  • I agree Skype is behind, I disagree that Windows Phone is behind. Being how because it doesn't have all 50 of the worlds most popular apps? That's not behind only lacking. Again I agree that Skype should be well ahead of any non windows platform
  • The ability to clear your call or chat log along with Skype voicemail & Video messages would a welcomed feature set
  • Funny thing, but good thing nonetheless... after this update, my Outlook and other email synching issues disappeared. Everything is now working perfectly. Lumia 920.
  • Does it let you listen to your own skype voicemails yet!? This seems a weird omission in the current version.
  • The switch account has been renamed to sign out. O.M.G. Sucha tremendous update. You all have to get it!
  • Yet another reason why Steve Ballmer is an asshole who should be fired and sued to give up his wealth for charity.
  • Random shit, or just hashish ?
  • Still not the update we where looking for... Sad
  • Can we finally delete our Conversations? That is a must have, apps useless till then imo.