Microsoft today announced preview editions of the new Skype for Business apps for iOS and Android. Redmond also talked about what’s new in the mobile edition and how users can participate in the preview.
For example, the streamlined edition of Skype now has a new dashboard that lets users more easily navigate contacts, calls and meetings. This can be done by tapping the search bar at the top of the Skype user panel to scan the user’s global address list by first name, last name, e-mail alias or phone number.
Also new in the mobile edition of Skype are rebuilt In-Call and In-Meeting experiences. The updates make it easier for a user to navigate between the two features, as well as to move between full-screen video and content with a single tap while keeping in contact with the speaker on the video screen. The mobile version also comes with larger buttons to make it easier for users to mute, add participants and manage their calls.
In addition, users can track current and pending meetings using the Upcoming portion of the search bar. A user can either click through to read more about the meeting or click the Quick Join icon to get into the meeting immediately. The Recent Conversations tab simplifies the process of referring back to the user’s most recent chats, phone calls and meetings.
Earlier this year, Microsoft ended its Lync Online offering and unveiled Skype for Business to expand the reach of its products to enterprise users. The company is aiming to continue that process with the introduction of the mobile apps previewed this week.
Users who have Lync 2013 on their iOS or Android devices will receive the new Skype for Business app as an update sometime later this year. Skype for Business mobile apps should work for users on Lync Server 2013, Skype for Business Server 2015 and Skype for Business Online.
To ensure IT administrators have time to prepare their end users and organizations for the mobile edition of Skype, Microsoft said it has added its Skype for Business iOS and Android apps to its Skype for Business Preview program.
To participate in the preview, IT administrators can nominate up to four end users for iOS and four for Android. Microsoft is asking participants to apply by Friday, August 14 -- www.skypepreview.com -- to be considered for inclusion in the first group of participants. Next week, the company will start notifying IT admins via e-mail of their acceptance.
"Because this is a pre-release program, we will not be able to accept all applications into the program," said Skype on the sign-up page. "However our goal is to allow as many people as possible to try our new features before general availability."