Microsoft Launches Skype Insider Program, Tests New UI and “SuperComposer”
It’s been six years since Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion, and some longtime users haven’t been pleased with the platform’s treatment. Its move from a peer-to-peer service model to centralized servers was a major point of controversy, and another was a redesign that introduced a Snapchat Stories-like mode called “Highlights”. But the situation’s improved as Microsoft has turned its attention to fixing bugs and optimizing code. Just recently, it announced the launch of the Skype Insider early access program, and this week saw the release of the first Skype beta for Android.
The Skype Insider program, much like the Windows Insider program on Windows 10, gives Skype enthusiasts an opportunity to try out early versions of Skype mobile and desktop clients. They’re less stable than publically available releases, but that’s somewhat intentional — one of the program’s goals is to generate feedback the dev team can use to squash bugs.
The first Skype beta release for Android features a new user interface a feature called “SuperComposer”.
“In Skype version 8.13 for iPhone, we launched a new design that brings back a bottom bar to streamline navigation and simplify access to Skype’s core features,” the Skype development team wrote in a blog post. “The majority of Android users expressed [a] preference for the version with a bottom bar. Based on this interest, we decided to run with this approach and created an experimental version of Skype for Android.”
Microsoft says it adheres to Google’s Material Design guidelines and brings back a contextual FAB for quick access to key actions. There’s an updated header and search icon, too, and the aforementioned SuperComposer, which appears when you tap the compose button in the main chats list. It invokes a screen that includes your recent contact list and easy access to actions such as New Group, Search Bots, Add Contact, Invite to Skype, and Make a Call.
The new Skype beta is rolling out to all users in the Skype Insider program. You can learn more about it here.