Redmond, Washington — It goes without saying that Microsoft has already loaded Windows 8 with a bunch of apps from the get-go, and just in the nick of time for the launch of Windows 8, Skype is getting a new modern-style app to reap the benefits of all the operating system’s features when Microsoft is lifting the curtain on the new client due October 26.
This should not come across as a surprise considering how Microsoft, too, has a new Windows operating system for the masses known as Windows 8, and Skype too, will stand alongside its parent company when Windows 8 launches later this week.
Of course, if you are a Skype user who will be installing Windows 8 at the end of the week, you are surely in for a lot of new features. The VoIP provider today disclosed that it will have a new application ready for users when Windows 8 launches on Friday. The application, suitably named Skype for Windows 8, offers the familiar features users would expect, including instant messaging and audio and video chatting.
Given that Microsoft owns Skype, it is no wonder that the Windows 8 app is a model for the new modern interface. Skype for Windows 8 was completely re-formulated from the ground up, said Derek Snyder, head of Mobile Marketing at Skype. The app appears as a Live Tile on the Windows 8 Start screen, and shows a preview of missed calls or new messages.
Furthermore, it is said that the newly developed Skype for Windows 8 with loads of feature sees Microsoft focus on how folks are using Skype today, while re-imagining Skype for everyday communications worldwide. Peeping inside the app, the main screen shows a list of recent interactions and favorite contacts, followed by a list of all contacts that scrolls off to the right. A small phone logo on this screen leads to a dialer for direct calls to landlines and mobile phones, using Skype credit or a subscription.
On the other hand, the most essential element in Skype’s Windows 8 app is its support for Snap. Users can drag the app to the right or left sidebar, and continue to see their video calls while using other apps. The sidebar shows a portrait view of the person on the other end, with a thumbnail view of the user underneath.
Skype on Windows 8 offers all the goodies you would expect from the well-known app but wraps them into a modern design. The full-screen app opens up and shows you people you can connect with and recent chat messages. Ideally, this makes the experience simple.
Like previous incarnations, the app also runs constantly in the background so you can receive voice and video calls even if you are inside another app–though Skype says this does not drain battery life.
Among other things, Skype will be nested with the Windows 8 People app. The People app is a “cloud-connected address book,” and if you login to Skype with a Microsoft account, all your Skype contacts appear in the People app. Once you do this, you can pin important people to your Windows 8 Start screen and call them via Skype in a click or two.
“The team at Skype has been building on the Windows platform since the first release of Skype,” Skype chief development officer Mark Gillett wrote in a blog post. “With Skype for Windows 8 we’ve focused on how people are using Skype today and re-imagined Skype for everyday communications across our global community.”
Admittedly, Skype has received a bit of a makeover in the new app, featuring the new Windows look. That has resulted in a significantly different design than what current users have come to expect. However, the new version does appear to be a bit simpler and more streamlined.
More importantly, adding to your favorite contacts is as easy as a simple tap or click away. Calling landlines or smartphones directly has been streamlined as well thanks to the new and modern dial pad.
Intelligently, Windows 8 knows whether you are using a desktop, laptop, tablet or convertible PC, as it keeps tracking in the background, which is a good thing especially when you are using a mobile device.
Nevertheless, if one were to summarize it, one can say that Skype for Windows 8 is simple, fast, beautiful and altogether makes communication easier. Skype for Windows 8 will be available on Windows 8 launch day, Oct. 26.