Microsoft gave up on phone hardware, but it still wants us all to use its mobile apps. With that in mind, Skype for Android is getting a major update to optimize it for low-end Android smartphones and tablets.
As the Skype blog explains, anyone with a device running Android 4.0.3 through 5.1 will see noticeable improvements when using the updated app. Less storage space is required and less memory is used by the app. Microsoft says that allows for Skype to be faster and therefore can offer better audio and video quality on these lower performance devices.
The other, and arguably more important improvement, is Skype for Android’s ability to better perform when a device is being used with “challenging network connections.” In other words, your Skype chats shouldn’t drop as often as they do now over poor connections.
As for when the new version carrying these improvements will drop, Microsoft is only saying “in the coming weeks.” That gives the Skype team time to roll it out slowly to different territories. However, you can remove the wait by signing up to the Skype Insiders Program.
By signing up, you’ll get new versions of Skype earlier than everyone else and be able to try out new features in return for your feedback. The last new feature Insiders got to try early was end-to-end encryption for conversations, which Microsoft achieved through a partnership with encrypted communications app Signal.