Microsoft To Drop The Metro Skype App
As someone continually working on the net, I loved the look and feel of Metro designs when they arrived. Optimised design for touch screen users, that gave a clean modern simple to understand user interface. When Microsoft purchased Skype it developed a modern Metro style version of the app to fit in with it’s Windows 8 Metro environment.
This means there are two options for Skype users, alongside the new Metro version there was the traditional desktop Skype app, known and used by millions around the world. Currently the Metro app like all Metro apps, can only be used in full screen mode in the Metro environment, but this is to change with the release of Windows 10 that will free all Metro apps, allowing them to run in windows in the desktop environment.
The Metro app is built as a Universal Windows App, utilising the same technologies that can run on the desktop, phone, and tablet, on the new HoloLens, on the Surface Hub, and on their games console, the Xbox One.
With this kind of investment in the development of Skype across Microsoft platforms you would think that if they were going to remove one of the applications that it would be the old desktop version, but this is simply not the case. It seems that the metro app is not the the one the Skype development team in interested in. They recently announced that they will be killing off Metro one for desktop users.
As of July 7, the Metro app will start to prompt users to install the desktop app, but if you are using Windows RT with the Metro app nothing will change for them.
One Skype App for all
So if Microsoft is only to have one Skype application, then it does make sense to concentrate on developing the desktop one. It has features like screen sharing and group video which are not available on the Metro version.
It looks like the people at Skype will develop the desktop version to incorporate Touch usage, they wrote “it makes sense to use the Skype application optimized for mouse and keyboards use, capable of doing touch as well rather than 2 separate applications performing the same function.”
This is strange as the Metro version already has the ability to work as a keyboard and mouse version as well as touch, yet this is one they are ditching in favour of the original fully featured version, which has many features that are unusable with touch devices. Maybe developing touch use to these features will enable the updated version of the desktop version much more compatible with more systems and products. Skype pretty much works on anything these days and developing a version that can utilise all features with touch will reduce the amount of updates that are continually happening across the range of Skype apps available.
What makes things more complicated is that Windows 10 will integrate certain functions of Skype into its Messaging and Phone apps, and there will also be built-in Skype-based video calling. From what we know This functionality continue to use Universal apps. So in the end there will still be multiple Skype user experiences but they will be split between being Metro-style apps and traditional desktop apps.
So instead of two all-in-one apps, there will be a series of fragmented, “task-based” apps for the Metro world, and the classic all-in-one app for the desktop.
As i said earlier concentrating on the desktop app makes sense, as Microsoft has been developing Skype’s integrated translation to be released hopefully by the end of the summer, and I hope it’s going to be ready for other platforms too as I am a Mac user.