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Microsoft reveals Skype redesign with new themes and features

Microsoft is working on improved, faster, reliable and modern-looking Skype. Source: The Verge.

Skype has offered a sneak peek at some significant changes coming later this year focusing on speed, reliability and design, as well as other performance upgrades.

Microsoft is teasing plans for an “improved, faster, reliable, and super modern-looking Skype.” The software maker says it has been listening to feedback and, over the next few months, will start rolling out changes to modernise Skype.

The most important part of Skype, what Microsoft named the call stage, is getting the most attention. The grid displayed during calls will soon include everyone on a call, regardless of whether they have enabled video or not.

Microsoft is also adding new themes and layouts to this view, offering some much-needed customisation to the main calling interface in Skype. Users will be able to pick between speaker view, grid view, large gallery, Together Mode, and even a content view — with options to only show people with video enabled.

Skype’s new colorful themes will soon be available, with button gradients, an improved side panel on mobile, and Fluent Design icons throughout the apps. Skype users without avatars will also get colorful gradients to make it easier to tell chats apart.

“While we love the design changes, we knew they weren’t enough,” admits the Skype team in a blog post detailing the changes. “We needed to focus on performance to make the experience delightful.”

Microsoft claims it is increasing performance on the Android version by more than 2,000 percent in “key scenarios” and 30 percent on desktop versions of Skype. Microsoft is also making a commitment to support all browsers with its future Skype changes.

“We believe the Skype experience should be seamless, accessible, and reliable no matter what browser or device you are using, so we are adding support for all browsers,” says the Skype team. “We would like to make sure that no matter which device, platform, or browser you’re using, Skype will always give you a great experience.”

Some of these improvements are live now, while others will roll out in the coming months. Custom notification sounds are part of the immediate new features, while a new TwinCam feature that lets users add their phone camera to a call appears to be coming later.

Microsoft is certainly focusing on a wide range of improvements for Skype. This is the latest redesign of Skype since Microsoft started tweaking things initially in 2014. Microsoft has signaled a shift in focus towards Microsoft Teams over the past year.