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10 February, 2017

Microsoft Unveils Slimmed-Down Skype Lite

A new version of Skype built specifically for the Indian market is easier on smartphone batteries and data use and even works on 2G connections.

Called Skype Lite, it went live on the Google Play store in India today. By compressing photos and videos, it uses less data than the full Skype app does to make voice and video calls or send files via chat.

There's also a built-in data counter, which shows how much data the app has sent over Wi-Fi and cellular connections. And since artificial intelligence-powered chatbots are now a key part of the Skype app, Skype Lite also includes a collection of India-specific bots that work in the app's seven supported languages: Gujarati, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.

In a blog post, Skype owner Microsoft described Skype Lite as "our fastest and smallest app to date." An app designed to use as little data as possible, however, comes with a slimmed down feature list, too: Skype Lite supports neither emoji nor end-to-end encryption, according to PCMag India. The full version of Skype, meanwhile, encrypts all Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls, as well as file transfers and instant messages.

Microsoft plans to release future versions of Skype Lite for iOS and Windows Phone, PCMag India reports, although it doesn't have immediate plans to offer the app in additional countries beyond India.