Skype update hits the Store, speedier app resumption

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Skype on Windows Phone has received an update, to v2.8(.0.84), with better support for Windows Phone 8's fast-resume functionality and a change in live tile count behaviour. The changelog is listed below, along with some observations.

From the Skype blog:

Today we’ve released an update for Skype for Windows Phone 8, the next step on our journey towards Skype’s Mobile Future. We’re focusing on putting conversations first, improving quality and performance, and bringing new features to Skype for Windows Phone 8.

In this release we’ve significantly improved the app start and resume performance – so you can quickly continue a conversation by moving smoothly between apps on your Windows Phone 8 device and Skype.

  • Start and Resume Performance – Improving the start and resume experience has been the main focus of this release. It’s now much faster to return to the app when it’s in the back stack. If you open the app and then hit the start button or turn off the screen, pressing the back or power button now gets you back into the Skype app much more quickly. You’ll also see some general improvements to the start experience.
  • Live Tile Count - Based on user feedback, we’ve changed the Live Tile notifications to show only the number of unread conversations, rather than the total number of unread messages.
  • South Korea Availability – Skype for Windows Phone 8 is now available to download from the Windows Phone Store in South Korea.

You can get the updated version now from the Windows Phone Store.

The performance improvements are welcome - resuming Skype from the 'multitasking' view now only involves a brief flash of black and then it's into the UI, with just some resuming 'dots' at the top of the screen, checking Skype's servers. Bringing Skype back after powering off the screen or by tapping on its live tile still involves a frustrating two second 'resuming....' delay, so let's hope that the developers can find a way to reduce the app's startup still further - anything over a second is usually considered annoying.

Skype screenshotSkype screenshot

The change in live tile behaviour is also welcome - previously you'd be staring at a tile with, for example, a count of '23', when really this was one important message in an intra-office chat and 22 bits of fluff in a chat window with some pub friends. At least now the count would be shown as '2', looking less overwhelming and informing you that there are just two conversations you might want to tap on.

Source / Credit: Skype blog