Skype for Android promises 'aggressive battery savings'

The voice and video chat app now will run all day in the background without draining a smartphone's battery, Microsoft says.

Skype logo

Smartphone makers are chasing new features like bigger screens, fingerprint readers, and motion sensors, but a consistent item I hear on ordinary people's wishlists is longer battery life.

Apparently somebody at Skype is listening.

Microsoft on Tuesday released an update to its service for voice, video, and text chat that comes with "aggressive battery savings," according to the Google Play store.

That means people can "leave Skype running all day with no noticeable battery drain," the company said.

One way the savings was achieved, though, was turning off push notifications for group chat. That can be re-enabled manually if desired, though.

Skype was a pioneer in popularizing VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) services, lowering costs for international calling and helping to make the idea of a video call possible for a mainstream audience. It still has a strong user base, but today it faces many technological and competitive challenges, including the WebRTC technology that makes it easy for developers to build peer-to-peer communication into the Web and Google Hangouts, a steadily more sophisticated online communication tool.

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