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Microsoft refuses to let Skype die, and introduces a new design

Microsoft seems refusing to give up on Skype, even though Teams has clearly become the focus of its communication efforts. The company just announced another major redesign for Skype, just over a year since the last big visual update, introducing more themes and colorful illustrations. There are also some new features in tow.

First things first, this new version of Skype comes with a completely revamped visual experience, and it actually looks pretty cool. You’ll now see a colorful header with a variety of themes to choose from, which work in both light and dark modes. You’ll see these colors more prominently throughout the app, as they used to be visible mostly in chats. There are also color illustrations that appear during the setup process, which makes things a little livelier. Microsoft is also introducing new accessibility contrast themes, so the app is more usable for visually impaired users.

In addition, the mobile calling experience is also being updated to match what was introduced for desktop computers a year ago. You will be able to see the contact phase in the light theme, instead of always seeing a black background. The video call layout will also automatically adjust to the number of people on the call. And Microsoft says it’s easy to get hold of all the call controls during a call.

Screenshot of the calling stage on the Skype mobile app next to video feeds from other users, representing the app's ability to adapt the layout as more users enable video

Another big call update is support for real-time translation. Skype can already translate voice and text for users in a chat, but in the near future, Microsoft is also adding a feature where real-time voice translation sounds like your own voice.

Finally, Skype is getting a Today tab on the home screen, which will be a new way to show you news right within the app, also making it easier to share with your contacts. You can customize your news feed by choosing your favorite topics as well.

Screenshot of the tab

Microsoft hasn’t specified when the update will be available, though it doesn’t look like it’s available to everyone just yet.

What’s most interesting about this, as we said at the beginning, is the fact that Microsoft still supports Skype at all. The company launched Teams years ago, and it’s clearly where its biggest efforts are focused. With Windows 11, Teams is integrated with the chat feature, and it is for personal use as well. In fact, Skype is no longer pre-installed with Windows 11, so it’s strange to see so much effort put into redesigning Skype, especially considering that Teams itself (the personal version, at least) doesn’t get big updates very often.

Recently, Microsoft launched the Communities feature in Teams, making it easier for organizations and associations to manage communications and events between members. It’s strange to see these two apps bolstered with different features and add-ons, when it’s clear that Teams is Microsoft’s ultimate goal. It could be argued that it would be better for everyone if all of these efforts were focused on the same app, but Skype seems to be here to stay, even if for just a few die-hard fans left.

source: Microsoft