It's kind of an Androidy day here at the SuperSite for Windows for whatever reason, so what the heck. Microsoft this week announced a new version of Skype for Android that introduces "aggressive battery savings," which I assume will be quite welcome. A version for Kindle Fire tablets is coming soon as well.
Microsoft has apparently been working to fix a battery life issue that plagued previous Skype versions on Android. And while the new version does fix this issue, it's sort of a half-step that also requires it to disable instant notification of messages in group chats. Microsoft promises a future update that will add this capability back while not impacting battery life.
"Imagine being able to leave Skype running on your phone all day without having to worry about your battery life," Eric Lin writes in a new post to the Skype Garage & Updates blog, as if that were something unusual. "Today we deliver."
"With Skype 4.7 for Android, we are introducing aggressive battery savings that will allow most of our users to leave Skype running without noticeably affecting battery life," he continues. "It has been a challenging process, because to do this we've had to transform to the way Skype technology works. Actually we're still undergoing that transformation – the process is not yet complete. But we are now at a stage where you can enjoy the fruits of our labor."
But there's a catch. To achieve the battery savings in the new version of Skype for Android, Microsoft has temporarily turned off instant notification of messages in group chats. Users who need this functionality can reenable the notifications—with the resultant drop in battery life—or wait for a coming update "in the near future" that will let Skype receive group chat messages instantly without additional battery impact.
This new version, Skype 4.7, also adds:
Better resource management. There's a workaround for a KitKat bug which caused a runaway process when the camera was synced in the background.
Audio and video calling fix on low-end devices. There's a fix for audio and video calling on tablets that do not have Bluetooth.
Better Messenger integration. The new Skype version now lists your Windows Live Messenger contacts in the Skype (default) view, not just the All Contacts view.
You can download Skype 4.7 for Android from the Google Play Store. A version for Amazon Kindle Fire tablets is expected "later this month" as well.