Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was in Mumbai for company’s flagship technology and business conference ‘Future Decoded’ where he announced Skype Lite, a new low-data version of the original Skype app. The mobile app has been launched on Android platform and is exclusively designed for the Indian market where low bandwidth restricts people to seamlessly connect with each other. To recall, it is the same Skype Mingo app, which was released in Beta in December 2016.
In addition to the original Skype features such as instant messaging, voice calling, video calling, etc. Skype Lite also brings some new useful features to table such as data tracker, India-focused Bots, a dark theme and Aadhar integration to be added to the list soon.
We installed the app instantly to find out how it works on Android platform. Here’s what we found in the first impressions of the latest Skype Lite Android smartphone app.
Exclusively Designed for India
Microsoft says that Skype Lite is company’s fastest and smallest app to date. It was built in Microsoft’s Hyderabad facility for users in India who wants to make video calls and send instant messages on slow internet connections like 2G. Skype Lite is available in seven local languages- Gujarati, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
Free to download with just 13MB installation size
Unlike Skype which is around 38MB in size, Skype Lite is built around the concept that budget smartphones often have less storage and users would not be comfortable to install an app that forces them to uninstall other apps or multimedia files from the phone’s storage.
That said, the app is just 13MB in size still offering all the features of the original Skype app, and even some new features as well.
Interface: Clutter free and easy to use
Skype Lite offers an easy to use clutter free user interface. The app even opens faster than the original Skype Android app the main screen is divided into four sections- Messages, Calls, Contacts and Bots. You can simply swipe left and right to jump from one section to another. The top-left corner has the app’s control section that offers the built-in data tracker, ‘My Profile’ section that allows you to customize your profile, add credits, and check for subscriptions and offers. Besides, you can invite friends, send feedback and rate the app.
The settings menu allows you to set the app as your default SMS app. You can also switch on the built-in data compressing algorithm, set the app to reduce data usage while making Skype voice and video calls, customize notifications, enable dark theme and switch on the function to share feedback by just shaking the phone.
Features: Data tracker, Message Filtering, Dark theme, Bots, etc.
As we mentioned that Skype Lite can be set to default messaging app, it also has the ability to intelligently filter the unwanted promotional messages from the general text and skype messages in your inbox.
The application also has a dedicated data tracking feature that allows you to monitor data usage on the app. If you are on a limited cellular data plan, you have the option to compress the size of images before you share them with your contacts.
Microsoft has also added a dark theme in the settings menu that changes the app background to dark, making it easy for you to use the app in no light conditions, especially during night time when bright light from your smartphone’s display puts stress on your eyes.
One of the highlight features of Skype Lite is the Bot integration. The app has India-focused bots like AP Transport Authority that helps you to navigate the procedures on availing road map authority services such as getting a driving license, registration services, etc.
There’s a Horoscope bot that offers Horoscope information, a Skype support bot to help you out in using the app and some interactive bots like Meme cat, Your face, etc that are quite fun to use.
Aadhar integration soon to be added in the feature list
Besides the above mentioned features, the new app is also said to get Aadhaar integration feature by June 2017 that will allow users to authenticate the identity of unknown callers in situations where identification is required, for instance; job interviews, documents scanning, goods and property sale, etc.
I was able to connect on voice call as well as on video call without any call drops with 2G network. The call quality was solid on voice call and it was manageable while making video calls.
Skype Lite acts as hub for all of your communications, be it text messages, voice calls, video calls and Skype messages. With the built-in data tracker and data compression features, the app seems to be a better option than the original Skype app to handle communication in challenging network conditions like we have in India.
You can uninstall the original Skype app and download the latest Skype Lite if you have a limited data plan or are always on the move and want the call to function even on a 2G connection.