tech2 News StaffFeb 22, 2017 11:37:03 IST
Microsoft has announced an India-specific stripped-down version of Skype for low bandwidth areas called Skype Lite. Just like Facebook Lite, Skype Lite will retain the core functionality of its elder sibling, but the algorithms and bit rates have been adjusted to work with low bandwidth. The Skype Lite app has been launched on the Android platform and will be available for download from today.
The Skype Lite client can replace your default dialer and SMS apps as well. There are four main parts to the Skype Lite app - phone book, SMS, dialer and bots. Each of the four tabs are self-explanatory. Under the SMS tab, you can filter the SMSes from promotional spam as well as the OTP related SMSes.
Bots tab lets you interact with Skype bots. Now here, you can either use the default bots which are preloaded as well as add more bots that are available on the complete Skype platform. One of the bots showcased at the event was called Your Face, which basically asks you to take a selfie, either single or in a group and then the machine learning algorithms try to guess the gender, age and so on. A lot of government bots were also demoed.
Video and audio calling is the main feature of the app, and what differentiates it from the parent Skype app is that the Lite variant is specifically meant for users on the go, who may not be on the best of network connectivity. The bitrates of the video and audio scale according to the network strength. According to Microsoft representatives, a Skype Lite video call can even function on a 2G network. We will have to test it out for ourselves to really agree with that claim.
Considering the Skype Lite app has been launched in India first, Microsoft has made sure that it supports up to 7 regional languages. More languages will be added in the near future. Microsoft representatives also said that more India-specific bots are also being worked on, and should be rolling out on the Skype platform soon.
Fielding a question on whether this app will come pre-loaded on smartphones in India, Microsoft said that there were no such plans on the horizon, but it is an option that could be considered.
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