Microsoft is throwing all of its resources towards a successful Windows 8 launch. Today, the biggest news out of Microsoft headquarters was that it was updating Skype in time for the launch of Windows 8.
The new version of Skype will completely change the interface to reflect the Metro UI style that is seen throughout Windows 8. If you didn’t already know, Microsoft owns Skype, so it’s no surprise that it’s trying to unify company assets under one solid brand.
Here’s a sneak peek at the new interface users can expect to see on the new Skype:
The screen shows a list of some of your favourite contacts as well as a list of people you’ve recently talked to. A full list of contacts can be found by scrolling to the right, and contact buttons pop up as users hover over any of their contacts.
The official Skype blog says that the new program is “fast, easy, and beautiful,” and the new changes certainly do look slick, especially when viewed on the Surface tablet:
Microsoft has also built Skype to interact with the Windows 8 People app. ‘People’ is Microsoft’s way of uniting all of your friends’ contact information into one easy-to-access place. People will also display social media feeds and basically everything you could possibly know about the people in your life.
In addition to the changes within Skype, the program will get its own dedicated Live Tile on the Windows 8 Metro start screen. Skype is also set to run constantly in the background by default – which should be good for tablet users who enjoy talking to friends and relatives, especially since most tablets have a front-facing camera.
It looks like Skype is being built with the intention that it will be Microsoft’s answer to FaceTime. Since it will be ‘always-on’ by default on most Windows 8 devices (and presumably, Windows 8 phones), users can use Skype just like they would use FaceTime. Of course, the major advantage that Skype has over FaceTime is the fact that it’s available on all of the following operating systems:
-Mac OS X
Meanwhile, Apple’s FaceTime is only available on Mac OS X and iOS. With more people using Android devices than ever before, the ‘new Skype’ could help Microsoft gain a competitive edge.
Think Skype for Windows 8 look like a lot of fun? You’ll have to wait a few days for its release: Microsoft will release Skype for Windows 8 on October 26, the same day that Windows 8 is scheduled to be released.