Skype was a well-loved app before the Microsoft acquisition. But lately, the Skype app experience has been frustrating for most of its users. Even now, according to reviews in various mobile app stores where Skype is available, there are only a handful of people who say they like Microsoft's latest redesign attempts. Regardless, the same changes are coming to the Universal Windows Platform version of the app for Windows 10 and for the Windows 7/8.1 desktop version as well .
Many people assumed that the new redesign won't make it to the desktop version of the Skype app since it was a feature-rich Win32 app. Also, on Windows 10, Skype's UWP app has already replaced the desktop app. But today, the company introduced its first preview version of the redesigned Skype for Desktop which resembles the same changes first introduced in mobile versions.
The new Skype desktop client won't work on the latest releases of Windows 10. It asks you to use the UWP app instead when you try to launch the installer. You can still install it by setting the compatibility mode to one of the previous OS versions. This Skype for Desktop client works on Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and older releases of Windows 10.
It has the same design and appearance as the mobile apps, adding a few new features compared to the 'classic' desktop app. Skype developers are highlighting these:
- @mentions, message reactions and a new notification pane — Stay on top of your day with help from the notification panel. Quickly jump back into conversations where you were @mentioned to see how people reacted to what you’ve said.
- New chat media gallery — Finding shared content—such as links, documents, or media—in a chat has never been easier with the chat gallery.
- Enhanced group calls — Customize your group call experience with drag and drop ease. Say it with an emoji using our new in-call reactions, too!
Since this release is a preview, expect some bugs and rough edges if you're planning to use it. Skype Preview for now will install alongside whatever version of the app you are already using so you won't need to reinstall anything if you'd like to go back the previous version.
To download and try the new Skype Preview for desktop head over to the Skype Insider page on its site. The same preview is also available for Mac users, while similar features will come to the Skype UWP app in the near future.