Microsoft updates Skype app for Windows 8, Android

Microsoft has announced the launch of new Skype clients for both Windows 8 and Android.

The new release comprises a number of new features including enhanced video call performance and general bug fixes. The new Skype for Windows 8 app will also allow users call Messenger contacts, while the Android version has been optimised to scale to a tablet’s bigger screen so that Skype feels more native to the larger display.

Skype for Android 3.0 now supports the “most popular” Android tablets, including Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2, Google’s Nexus 7, Acer’s Iconia Tab, Asus’ Transformer Prime, Sony’s Tablet S and Motorola’s Xoom.

The app makes use of the extra screen space by showing navigation tabs and recent communications on the left side of the screen, and thumbnail images of contacts on the right side. A set of menu buttons sit in the top-right corner, including the dialer, search and settings. During video chat, users can keep the left navigation panel in view, or switch to full-screen mode.

The only big drawback is that Skype’s new app doesn’t support portrait mode on Android tablets. This is especially problematic on the Nexus 7, whose camera is on the side bezel when held in landscape, so users will have to be careful not to block the lens.

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