Revamped Skype app for Android tablets oozes Windows-esque style

Three months after Skype for Android's revamped interface landed on smartphones, the new UI is available for tablets via Google Play and the Android Appstore.

Skype 4.4 for Android makes the tablet version of the world's most popular VoIP app a little more flexible than the previous iteration. The new Skype also brings improved video call quality to tablets and smartphones alike, rocking an improved resolution that could be up to four times clearer, according to Skype.

If you already use Skype on Android or the Windows 8 modern UI, the new Skype interface for tablets will be immediately familiar. The new interface focuses on your most recent voice and video calls and instant messages, followed by sections for favorites and the people in your address book.

Unlike the smartphone version, however, Skype 4.4 on tablets lets you view the app in either portrait or landscape--a feature missing from the previous version, Skype 3.2. In portrait mode, Skype for tablets is similar to the smartphone interface, albeit with a few key differences.

Instead of having categories for recent chats, favorites, and people across the top of the screen, tablets scroll downwards for each category. There are also quick action buttons at the top of the screen to make a phone call, send an IM, or add someone to your contacts.

In landscape, Skype 4.4 looks very similar to the modern UI app in Windows 8. Instead of using tabs or a slide out navigation column, the three main sections (recent, favorites, and people) run off the screen--a design influence that clearly comes from Microsoft's (formerly known as Metro) design language.

The chat window views also borrow heavily from Windows 8. Turn your tablet on its side and you'll almost swear you're on the Windows start screen. To the right you'll see the usual chat window, but the left side is completely taken up by your contact's profile photo, their name, and an option to start a voice or video call. There are also more options buried under a standard Android menu icon, including the ability to add your contact to favorites, view the person's profile, remove the contact, and so on.

In portrait, chat windows on tablets look basically the same as an Android phone, with a large portion of the screen taken up by the IM history.

Overall, Skype 4.4 provides a very nice coat of paint for Android tablets, and better video call quality is always a good thing.


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