During his keynote at the Future Decoded event in India, Satya Nadella announced the launch of Skype Lite for Android smartphones with an aim to offer a lightweight, data-friendly messaging, sharing, and calling experience on low-end smartphones.
Skype Lite is specifically made for India, and is developed in partnership with Microsoft India Development Center (IDC), Hyderabad. The new app offers lightweight (it's only 13MB in size), fast, and reliable Skype experience.
The app of course also supports Microsoft Bot Framework and conversational UI. It has built-in data saving features and also allows you to track mobile and Wi-Fi data usage anytime. When you share a photo on Skype Lite, it is first compressed before uploading, thereby reducing the size. Also, when you are forwarding a photo, the sharing happens within the service so you don’t need to download the photo first, and then upload it again... essentially saving data as well as time.
The Skype Lite also sports a dark theme. Dark theme has been very popular on the Skype Preview app on Windows 10, and I'm glad Microsoft has brought the same to Android now. Hopefully, they'll also bring it to the primary Skype app.
Skype Lite is integrated with mobile calling and SMS, however in an India-focused innovation, the app helps you to remove the SMS clutter (SMS spam is a major issue in the country!) allowing you to filter Skype conversations as well as texts you care about from the promotional text messages with tabbed views - Skype, SMS, Promotions.
During my brief hands-on with the app with Skype's Yasmin Khan, I observed that the app offers seamless Skype experience. The app is fully localized in seven 7 Indian languages namely Gujarati, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. Few of the things that are missing are Mojis, Skype's popular video emojis, which is obvious since they are heavy in size and require higher bandwidth to go through.
In a chat, Eugene Ho, Director of Products - Skype, confirmed that Skype Lite is actually the final version of Skype Mingo, a preview app that was spotted in Google Play Store a couple of months ago. While the app is made for India, he said that the company might look at how customers respond in the country, and take it to other emerging markets.