Microsoft has been touting the importance of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) – apps that can run on any form factor from desktop to phone – since Windows 10 was announced. So it’s a little odd that Skype, one of its biggest properties, is still using a decidedly not-mobile-friendly legacy app for the growing number of Windows 10 tablets and convertibles.
That’s now changing: Microsoft is building a UWP app that will eventually integrate all of the legacy Skype program’s features, and more. Moreover, it says it will eventually completely kill off the desktop-only app in favor of the universal one.
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The company has worked to simplify the interface by removing duplicate menus and clutter, and of course, the interface is much more touch-friendly. That said, not all of the features in the desktop version are available in this preview quite yet. Currently, you can perform standard one-to-one chat actions and send photos, but you can’t:
- Start a chat with anyone using Skype or not using Skype
- Create a group and send group messages
- Make group voice and video calls
- Share your screen, files and video messages
- Manage notifications from individual chats
But all of those features and more will arrive in the ‘next couple of releases,’ according to the company.
If you feel like you’re going through a little bit of déjà vu, that’s because Skype already had a mobile-friendly (back then, called ‘Modern UI’) version of its app that it killed right before the release of Windows 10.
That one lived parallel to the more powerful desktop application, and was eventually killed because it simply wasn’t used enough. By aiming to completely match the desktop-only app feature-for-feature, this new touch-friendly Skype stands a better chance at sticking around for the long run.
If you want to give it a shot, you’ll have to be a Windows Insider – the company is mainly looking for feedback on performance at this stage. Still, it eventually plans to release the new app to more users before killing off the legacy app altogether.