Skype Gets a Makeover, Group Calling in Windows 10 Mobile

The Anniversary Update is making its way to Windows 10 smartphones and bringing with it a new Skype experience.

Microsoft,Skype, PCs, mobile

Skype looks different after the Windows Anniversary Update, on both PCs and smartphones.

Two weeks after Microsoft began rolling out the update for PCs and tablets, the company released it to Windows 10 Mobile devices on Aug. 16. Among the many updates is a new Skype Preview app that borrows heavily from the PC.

"Just like our new experience built into the desktop Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the updated Skype Preview for Windows phone has been redesigned from the ground up, taking advantage of the Universal Windows Platform to work seamlessly on your mobile device," Microsoft's Skype group wrote in an Aug. 16 blog posting.

Since Build 2015, Microsoft has been making a strong push to steer its developer community in the direction of Universal Apps, which can run on a multitude of Windows-powered devices (PCs, tablets, smartphones, Xbox One, etc.) with little or no modification to the underlying code. The company has been leading by example, pumping out Universal apps for Office, and of course, Skype.

After the update is applied, Skype Preview replaces the legacy app. For users who find that the old client continues to linger, the new app is available as a free download in the Windows Phone Store.

When launched, users will immediately notice that Skype has traded in its white and blue interface for a new, darker theme. A lighter theme similar to the classic experience is available under Settings.

One major upgrade from the older Skype client is the availability to make group video calls. Skype Preview supports video calls with up to 25 participants, in addition to one-on-one video voice calls, text chats and other carry-over functionality.

Having already landed on Windows 10 PCs and smartphones, Skype Preview's next stop is Xbox One, Microsoft revealed. Last November, the company released a major system update that further unified the Windows and Xbox One ecosystems, paving the way for apps that look, feel and work similarly across platforms.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is already working on new, post-Anniversary Update builds for Windows 10 Mobile.

Today, Dona Sarkar, a Microsoft Windows and Devices Group software engineer and head of the Windows Insider program, announced the release of versions for both Windows 10 PC and Mobile. Members of the Windows Insider early-access program who are enrolled in the "Fast Ring" can download the new system software now.

Build 14905 offers PC users some UI tweaks and bug fixes. Smartphone users, on the other hand, get a new audio experience.

"We are introducing a newly refined sound set in this build, uniting the best of our past and present," said Sarkar in an Aug. 17 announcement, regarding the new audio effects. "This also helps align with [the] new sound design direction of the Windows platform as a whole," further adding a sense of familiarity and cohesiveness for users of Windows desktops, tablets and now smartphones.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...