Back in April, Microsoft released Skype for Business to Office 2013 users and eventually rolled it out to Office 365 users as well as producing a Windows Phone app. Skype for Business (formerly Microsoft Lync) is now the collaborative result of Lync’s enterprise-grade security with Skype’s ubiquitous interface, (for better or for worse). Skype for Business users now benefits from features that include IM, voice and video calls, online meeting management and an integrated Microsoft Office experience that extends to email, calendar and chats.
In recent days, Microsoft has committed itself to being a cross-platform company, that usually resulted in iOS and Android platforms receiving apps, features and updates earlier than its native platforms. Even though Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365 is now platform agnostic, the only native app for Skype for Business was found on Windows Phone, until today.
Today, Microsoft announced a preview of Skype for Business apps for iOS and Android. The new preview brings a tailored platform dashboard to the app as well as In-Call and In-Meeting experiences. Other updated features include:
- Contact search bar—Search your Global Address List by first name, last name, an email alias or even a phone number! On iOS, your phone contacts are also included in the search.
- Upcoming appointments—Here you can see your current and next meetings in your calendar. You can either click through to read more about the meeting or click the Quick Join icon to join the meeting right away.
- Recent conversations—Makes it easy to refer to your most recent chats, phone calls and meetings.
- Larger buttons make it easier to mute, add participants and manage your call.
- Video, which now fills the screen, brings you closer to your colleagues.
- We made it easier to navigate between video and content with just one tap by simplifying the IM, video and content panes. While you can still view content in full-screen, you can now also view content and see the speaker’s video at the same time!
The preview is extended to Android and iOS users who already have Lync 2013 on their devices. Microsoft explains that “Skype for Business mobile apps work for anyone on Lync Server 2013, Skype for Business Server 2015 and Skype for Business Online.”
IT administrators interested in participating in the preview and testing the new apps are encouraged to visit www.skypepreview.com. Once enrolled, IT admins can nominate up to four end users for preview access on iOS and Android devices each. The first batch of participants are will be considered after August 14, 2015, and notifications of acceptance will begin being issues the week of August 17, 2015.