What you need to know
- Microsoft has redesigned Skype for mobile devices.
- The app has a new loading experience, new illustrations, and improved options for themes.
- Microsoft also improved the performance and reliability of Skype with the app's most recent update.
Microsoft has redesigned Skype once again. The communication app now has a new loading experience, new illustrations, and animated emoticons. Microsoft also added new color options to the app that work with both the light and dark themes. In its announcement post about the update, Microsoft said that the new experience "should feel very familiar and at the same time fresh and modern."
In addition to adding the ability to accent light or dark themes with different colors, Skype's new experience has accessibility color themes that should make the app easier to read and navigate.
The calling experience within Skype has improved as well. Video calls of up to 100 people are now supported and the app has a new mobile calling stage. That new stage aligns with the desktop equivalent that shipped last year. It supports adding custom backgrounds for participants without video and has a light theme now. Stability and performance of video calls should also be better after Skype's most recent update.
Microsoft is working on scaling options for video calls, which will be in testing among Insiders in the near future.
A new 'Today' tab also rolled out to Skype with this month's update. It shows personalized news articles, which are presumably similar to what a person would see through Bing or Microsoft Start.
Microsoft also announced new features for real-time translation. We'll cover those separately as they're rather significant and worth highlighting on their own.
Windows Central take — does Skype matter in 2022?
People had already shifted away from Skype in favor of other platforms when the global pandemic hit. The success of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other services accelerated the mass exodus from Skype. Microsoft has redesigned Skype, rolled back design changes, and added new features to Skype over the years in an effort to modernize the app.
Our managing editor called Skype one of Microsoft's four most disappointing products and services in 2018. I wrote about how another 'new' Skype wasn't going to save the platform back in 2021. Our senior editor Zac Bowden talked about how Microsoft failed to capitalize on Skype's potential as well. All of the issues we highlighted are still present, regardless of a redesign to cap off 2022.
I used to be frustrated by the failure of Skype. The service actually has a lot of good features and there's no doubt in my mind that the team behind it has excellent engineers and developers. But mismanagement and shifted priorities have placed Skype squarely in the back of people's minds, if they think about it at all.
Now, I'm apathetic toward Skype, as I believe most people are. Microsoft can use it as a testing ground for new features that will eventually make their way to the more-popular Teams.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.