Skype for Android goes flatter, cleaner with Metro-inspired redesign

July 2, 2013

Skype video messaging update

Much has been said about the new trend today moving toward flatter, cleaner and more content-oriented designs. While Apple went for the skeumorphic look since the early iPhone ages, smartphones are now becoming more avant garde, with flat interfaces focused on bringing content rather than style.

Some would even say this is Microsoft’s revenge, with smartphone UI and UX increasingly becoming more like the Zune of old. What? Zune? You read it right. This is especially evident with Apple’s latest iOS 7, which has taken cues from both Microsoft’s Metro design concept, as well as Google’s user interface standards for Jelly Bean.

Skype for Android app

Skype, with its latest update on Android, follows with the same design philosophy — flatter, cleaner and more focused on content. Some would even say Skype’s latest redesign takes cues from Windows Phone. After all, Skype is now owned by Microsoft, and it’s only natural for the Redmond company to try to bring some of its own brand and image to other smartphone platforms. Some even claim that you might mistake your Android device for a Windows Phone while Skype is running, if you don’t look closely enough.

Perhaps the first thing you will notice is that when you launch Skype, the first view that will greet you (apart from the login screen, of course), is your most recent conversations. This seems to indicate that Skype is now more focused on bringing conversations front-and-center with this new update.

Skype for Android update

But the changes go beyond skin-deep, though. Apart from the flatter design, is that Skype is more responsive and takes less resources than older versions. Conversations — instant messages, calls and video messages — should be more easily accessible. While the app is supposedly version 4.0, developers say it’s a brand new app that has been “rebuilt from the ground up to make it faster and more reliable.”

Here’s a brief rundown of what the latest Skype update has to offer:

  • Swype left and right to switch across the conversations/recent view, favorites view and contacts view.
  • Tap on the phone icon to the lower corner left for quick access to calls.
  • You can now attach files and video messages in chats.
  • Instant messages are now differentiated by shade or tint of blue, which helps differentiate your messages from your correspondents’
  • You can now start group messages right from the Android app.

No word on whether the iOS variant will also get an update with the same design treatment. It’s likely that Skype will either go for the same look-and-feel, thereby following the same “Metro” like treatment, or make Skype look more at home with iOS7 once officially launched. What’s clear at this point is that Skype is trying to become more competitive in the mobile scene, especially with the popularity of cross-platform messaging apps, like WhatsApp, LINE, Viber and others, which are crowding out Skype in terms of user uptake and revenue.

Have you tried the latest Skype for Android update? What do you think of the new interface?

Comments

  • GUEST

    WITH THE NEW UPDATE (YOU CANNOT EVEN CHOSE NOT TO UPDATE)THERE IS NO WAY TO EXIT THE APPLICATION . ONCE YOU FIRST OPEN IT STAYS PATHETICALLY ON!!!! . I UNINSTALLED IT UNTIL FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS COME. (pls HELP IF I MISSED SOMETHING)
    ty

    • joachimbv

      I can help you. Do you see that button on the keyboard right above the left Shift-button? That says Caps Lock? Please press it….

      • GUEST

        TY FOR YOUR ANSWER. NO SOLUTION. I HAVE THE STOCK QWERTY . ON THE LEFT THERE IS NO SHIFT BUTTON. ONLY AN ARROW. (ABOVE THAT LETTERS A AND Q)TRIED ALL POSSIBLE COMBINATIONS. PERHAPS MISSED SOMETHING BUT DO NOT KNOW WHAT. ANDR.V 4.2.1.

        PLS HELP.

        • Nandi

          Lol!!! Is This Guy Serious ???

          • GUEST

            ??????? If u r addressing me pls define what is serious.
            You perhaps?

            PLS HASTEN TO REPLY. THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY HANGS ON IT

    • Frank Lin

      I was confused first, just go to your profile (the little icon at the top right) and then press your menu button or click the settings icon at the bottom right of your profile and press sign out.

      • GUEST

        TY!!!
        MY GENERAL IMPRESSION VERY POOR THOUGH. I DO NOT KNOW IF U AGREE. WHATEVER MICROSOFT TOUCHES IT TURNS IT INTO ASHES… THE LAST SPASMS OF THE DYING CAT.
        THANKS AGAIN

  • Rick Osborn

    I am disappointed that my HTC DNA is an unsupported device. Another feather gets added to my Google+ hat.

  • Yama

    Wtheck is this flatdesign hype? First ios and now everything…

    Btw i know ios was not first with it ofc, but it all began again after ios 7.

  • gargamel

    The reviews on the Play store are pretty bad…

  • Arch Thor

    how the heck do I log off? lol i got lost on that new UI… ):

    • Frank Lin

      You can log out, just click on your profile and then the menu tab at the bottom there should be a “sign out” option. Well I’m disappointed there’s no other statuses other than Invisible or Online… Where’s Busy and Away?

  • Frank Lin

    You can’t log off within (you must force close) and there’s no other statuses other than Invisible or Online… Where’s Busy and Away?