At its Future Decoded event in Mumbai, Microsoft today launched a new Skype Lite app aimed at low-end Android smartphones. The app is specially designed for countries like India where a lot of smartphone users in rural areas are still on slower 2G networks. At the same time, a lot of users have entry-level smartphones with low-end specifications, and internal storage ranging between 2GB to 8GB. While the Skype app for Android has a file size of about 32MB, the Skype Lite app is just 13MB, meaning users will be able to save some space on their smartphones. What s more, the app also has a built-in Aadhaar identification feature. Also Read - Windows 11 could be a free upgrade for you provided you fall in this categoryAlso Read - Nintendo Direct E3 2021: Metroid Dread, Mario Party Superstars, a new Legend of Zelda and more
While Indian telecom operators are rolling out 4G services across the country, not all circles have high-speed internet access. In fact, with most telecom circles still stuck on 2G connectivity, the Skype Lite app has been optimized to work on slower networks. By default, the app will compress data when you re on cellular network. Besides the reduction in file size and under-the-hood optimizations, there s a lot more that the app has to offer. Also Read - Windows 11 leaked online: Centralised start menu, revamped UI, new widgets, here's what to expect
First off, the app has a slick interface. I had a chance to play around with the app during the demo and it looks feature-rich. Open the app and you ll see four tabs — your call logs (including voice and Skype calls), the SMS tab, contacts and bots. The call log displays all of your incoming, outgoing and missed calls details both made to mobile numbers, and the ones made to the Skype users.
Next is the SMS tab. The app allows you to use Skype Lite as your default SMS app too, thus making it a one-stop-shop for your dialer, call logs and SMS, besides Skype calling and Instant Messaging. It is integrated with machine learning algorithm, which can differentiate between the interactions you have with your contacts, and filter out the promotional messages that you get from brands.
The next tab has your contact list from phonebook and Skype. You can initiate phone calls, Skype video calls or instant message right from this tab. And lastly there is a bots tab. There are a handful of bots — one that lets you interact and get the horoscope reading, the other is one where you click your selfie and it gives out information such as age and more using machine learning algorithm. Bots is a big area of focus, Microsoft aiming to add more to the app going forward.
With the Aadhaar identification feature, you can simply type in the Aadhaar number of the person you are talking to, and the app will instantly verify the details from the government s database. Microsoft s Skype Lite app will be available as a free download on the Google Play Store. ALSO READ: Flipkart ties up with Microsoft to deliver better online shopping experience
This isn t however the first lite app that has been launched focused on Indian users. Facebook was among the first to launch a lite app, and it has over 200 million users. Recently, Google launched the YouTube Go beta app, which is again aimed at countries that don t have high-speed internet connectivity.