Following in the footsteps of an updated Skype for iPhone—and what I assume to be a related release of Amazon's Fire Phone—Microsoft today announced the release of Skype 5.0 for Android. This major update to the app provides integration between your Skype contacts and your handset's contacts management system.
Microsoft announced back in June that it had "remastered" Skype for iPhone, which upon inspection meant that the app now looks an awful lot like the Windows Phone version. Like the now-current Android version of the app, that brought Skype for iPhone up to version 5.0.
Microsoft doesn't mention remastering Skype for Android. But it does list the following improvements in version 5.0:
Contacts integration with phone. You can now choose whether to integrate your Skype contacts into the address book in your Android handset. And a coming update will look for phone number matches between your Skype and other phone contacts. And when matches are found, new contacts will show up in your Skype people list too.
Contacts integration with other Microsoft services. I'm surprised this wasn't already offered, but this update will also connect your Skype contacts with your address book in other Microsoft services like Outlook.com. This feature requires you to sign in to Skype with a Microsoft account.
Privacy protection. Not really a new feature, but Skype will continue to respect your privacy. "You can easily choose whether you want your address book contacts to be automatically added to Skype or not," Microsoft notes. "And don't worry, your number will not be a public part of your profile."
The new contacts functionality will be coming to other mobile platforms in the coming months, Microsoft says.