100M installs later, Skype retools Android app for modern messaging

Hidden behind the new design is a motivation to compete with a panoply of mobile messaging applications that appeal to youngsters.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
skype for android
Skype for Android 4.0 emphasizes conversations. Skype

Facing stiff competition in mobile messaging, Microsoft-owned Skype updated its Android application Monday with a crisper design meant to emphasize conversations. The application has been installed on more than 100 million Android devices, Skype said.

Skype for Android 4.0 arrives with a contemporary look where messaging -- chats, voice calls, and video calls -- takes center stage.

The application now features a person's most recent conversations on the home screen and comes with call and chat buttons at the bottom of the screen for quick access. Messaging dominates in the Favorites and Contacts tabs as well, as the retooled app now showcases your blended conversation history with a person when you tap on his or her name, instead of serving up a bland profile page.

Skype also said that the Android app should be faster and more reliable after an entire rewrite.

"We went beyond design and fundamentally changed the way Skype was built, focusing much of our effort on stability, performance, and load time," Skype's mobile marketing lead Derek Synder wrote in a blog post discussing the new Android app.

Hidden behind the new design is an obvious motivation to compete with a panoply of mobile messaging applications gaining in popularity. Skype, a veteran of the voice-over-IP space, has been passed over by younger generations who are turning en masse to apps such as WhatsApp, Kik, Line, and Viber for their multifaceted mobile messaging needs.

You can see the new Android application in action in the video below.