August 21, 2012
A leaked version of the popular voice over internet protocol platform Skype shows Microsoft's overhaul of the graphical user interface design has touched many elements of the software, according to Neowin. The Skype platform, which was purchased by Microsoft in May 2011, has been updated to integrate with Windows 8 and the Modern UI, previously known as Metro. The changes are drastic and show a much more uniform appearance for Skype that seems pleasing regardless of its association with Windows 8.
According to the news source, Skype's new GUI design stands up well to performance and stability testing, and is much cleaner than the current version. Additionally, it seems to function more fluidly and works perfectly on touchscreen devices. Among the improvements, Microsoft has made text larger and easier to read and alternated background colors for instant message conversations to distinguish parties easier.
Aesthetically, the new look for Skype lines up with the Modern UI, but doesn't diverge too far from the current version. Similar color schemes and layouts will help Windows 8 users easily switch over to the Modern UI app, while the upgrades will make the app much easier to use on a tablet or Windows phone.
Screenshots on Neowin show a scrollable interface, with contacts, incoming call information and pinned favorites all located on one screen. This points to increased tablet and smartphone functionality as well.
While the leaked preview seems to be fully functioning, it is likely that Microsoft will hold off the official release until October when Windows 8 and the Surface tablet are launched, according to SlashGear.
The most notable change for this upcoming version of Skype is how in line with the Modern UI it looks. Microsoft is pushing developers to keep apps uniform with the simple and clean application design practices that it is implementing for in-house apps. Skype's current look is fairly minimal, but features rounded buttons and other UI design aspects that will be gone with the new edition. With square buttons, flat colors and the loss of the beveled look that so many apps have adopted since Windows XP, Skype will be transformed, possibly for the better.
According to the news source, it would appear that this preview was leaked in anticipation of a limited public beta release later this year. With every feature from voice to Skype's full-credit service working, it seems the app is finished and just waiting for launch.