Microsoft Skype has a new update rolling out in the Play Store today that brings improved audio controls to the messaging and communications apps. The new build is version 8.15.04 for those keeping score at home.
In this new update, you can now switch between your audio sources while in a call. You can switch between your phone’s build-in speaker/microphone, a wired or Bluetooth device without having to drop the call. As you switch, you will lose a couple of seconds of audio, especially when moving to a Bluetooth connected device. This new flexibility should make it easier to start a call while at your office, then move it to your car’s Bluetooth speakers so you can continue the call on your way home.
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Microsoft’s Skype for Android has hit a rare benchmark. The communications app has hit the 1 billion downloads mark, something that few apps have reached, especially those outside of Google itself. The messaging, calling and video app has been around in various names for years and is one of the linking apps between phones and PCs for Windows users. It may have taken it a while to hit one billion downloads but it did it and many others have never come close. Indeed, even Microsoft’s other apps are mostly in the 100 million download range.
Like many of their other Android apps, Microsoft has continued to update the features of Skype and that continues today. There is a small update that is rolling out in the Play Store that bring messaging improvements. The update is version 188.8.131.52295 for those keeping score at home and should be rolling out to users over the course of the next few days.
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The US territory Puerto Rico was for all intents-and-purposes destroyed a couple of weeks ago by Hurricane Maria. Millions are without power and even basic human needs like food and water are scarce. One of the challenges is for people here in the US to get in contact with friends & family on the island since the hurricane but Microsoft is trying to help.
Until further notice, calls to Puerto Rico landlines and mobile numbers will be free via Skype. The company announced the waiving of fees this morning and it is in effect for both domestic and international calls via Skype.
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Microsoft is in the process of rolling out a new integration between their personal assistant, Cortana, and the Skype messaging client. The new integration essentially makes Cortana a chat-bot inside of Skype, allow it to give you suggestions for replies to messages, get weather and news information, as well as facts and other information. In order for it to work, you have to give Cortana various permissions for Skype and since it is rolling out now, not everyone is seeing it just yet.
If this sounds familiar as an Android user, it should. Essentially Microsoft is replicating what Google has done with Allo and Google Assistant which, for Windows 10 PC users and those who are heavily in the Microsoft ecosystem, this is great news.
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