Skype for Metro leaks, we go hands on

Neowin has gotten a chance to play with the new Metro Modern UI app for Skype and put it through our initial gauntlet of test for usability and general stability. The app is still in preview state but is relatively solid for performance. We conducted several calls with one and multi-person chats with little issue.

The UI is fluid and dare we say fast too. The Skype team has done a good job at making the application finger friendly and so far, we have not had any crashes with the platform. 

Skype for the Modern UI handles all tasks quite well, with the chat interface being clean and simple to navigate which a nice departure from the previous UI that was not universally loved. Chatting via text is a pleasant experience as well too with text appearing large and easily distinguishable and there are alternating colored backgrounds for each person who is chatting.

During our time with the application, it did not crash a single time. In fact, when chatting via voice and text, the parties on the other end could not tell that we were using the preview app. Considering how well polished this application is, we fully expect that it will be released by Microsoft in the very near future. 

If you have any questions about the Skype Modern Ui app, let us know in the comments and we will do our best to answer them for you. 

Thanks for the tip Anon!

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GOOGLE PLUS HANGOUTS > SKYPE. Why pay to share screen with multiple people? Google hangouts does it for free, and better, and have you seen the pirate hat you can wear?

I'm not really a big fan of all the black boxes everywhere, but otherwise it looks pretty nice, not too busy. Actually a little too simple.

good for mobile; embeded devices, smart tvs and tablets but for normal desktop and multiasking people this its not productive

All the wasted space and insanely large interface elements are pretty much a testament to how pointless full-screen apps are on larger displays.

is there any news about Skype if it will us make new Ids Name in the future or deleting UN used nick names for more years

is there any new about Skype if it will us make new Ids Name in the future or deleting UN used nick names for more years

I know you have to blast it with your watermark and cover people ... but those screenshots are just a mess and not really possible to get a real feel for how it looks ... lol

Why dont you whiners just stick to the desktop version, im sure that's pretty enough for you. What a bunch of babies.

Two questions..

Where do I get it?
How does it work in the background? I know this has nothing in common with WP, but the messaging app is very unreliable when working in background (also in foreground).

I hate how on the normal version, it's hard to know who's online and still have all your contacts show. The Mac version seems to be far, far, far superior to the normal Windows and Metro version.

Brian Miller said,
I hate how on the normal version, it's hard to know who's online and still have all your contacts show. The Mac version seems to be far, far, far superior to the normal Windows and Metro version.

I'll go with the Windows desktop version sucks, but it wasn't designed by Microsoft. The Metro version I don't know until I use it. It could be better or worse than it looks.

As for the Mac version, it makes sense to Mac users, but isn't a pinnacle of design by any means.

- Kaboose - said,
oh yes, giant coloured tiles with giant text... now that's modern !!!

Ya cause who would be so STUPID to think this would look futuristic?

Oh wait...
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/...73168_8c051548f4_z.jpg?zz=1

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-...407/initiations058.jpg/sr=1

The StarTrek UI was based on traditional graphic design concepts and typography for efficient and dynamic information.

These are the same principles graphic designers and publishers have been using for over 100 years; however, for Star Trek they attempted to create a sense of usability and adhere to these basic principles in a way that would look futuristic.

The same principles of typographic and design Microsoft studied, except they aren't trying to make it look futuristic.

As for the post above, the Commadore 64 couldn't render or display ONE TILE on the Metro screen, unless there is a mod to the commodore 64 to display billions of colors and animate at 120fps with constantly updating information.

thenetavenger said,

As for the post above, the Commadore 64 couldn't render or display ONE TILE on the Metro screen, unless there is a mod to the commodore 64 to display billions of colors and animate at 120fps with constantly updating information.

Could that possibly be because the Commodore 64 is 30 frigging years old already?

ichi said,

Could that possibly be because the Commodore 64 is 30 frigging years old already?

The Commodore 64 was perfectly capable of doing exactly that. It just wasn't perfectly capable of doing it this week.

Developers and enterprise users can "side load" Metro applications, along as you have a developer license - which right now are free and just require you to sign in with a Microsoft account and press "Ok".

BajiRav said,
How in the world did you side load the metro app?

You do it the way a developer loads their own app, through the SDK and Visual Studio 2012 iirc.

Later on at some point MS will have a way for businesses to side load their own apps, probably pushed out through a Windows Server down to them remotely like the preview Office 2013 apps are.

qdave said,
I have a feeling that with the new look usability suffers?

Considering I have only found a few Apps that suffer from the Metro Interface aspects, I seriously doubt it. The rethinking and the way Modern/Metro works is far faster to get to information and use for a lot of Apps.

There are a few exceptions that don't translate well, or the developer didn't think the usability though.

One thing I have found pleasing is that the new MS Web Apps for Outlook.com and other upcoming releases are just as functional, and work as seamless as the native Apps. (SkyDrive's new UI for example)

We have a few power users that have given up their localized Mail and Outlook clients and use the web App exclusively. Part is an experiment, part are users that find it so much simpler and faster.


This is hopefully where we will be before long, with usability designed into web sites and full RIA running in a browser engine at near native speeds.

Then the Windows 8 Apps wont' be necessary, and the user interface and usability of 'consistency' will have served their function in influencing we site design cohesion.

If sites were designed more like 'Apps' with consistency for UI controls, it would be far better for everyone and all devices.

So, now that we know a Skype MX app exists, why didn't Microsoft just make this the default messaging app instead of the wildly useless "Messaging" app?

Dot Matrix said,
So, now that we know a Skype MX app exists, why didn't Microsoft just make this the default messaging app instead of the wildly useless "Messaging" app?

Because the EU dislikes bundling of services with Windows and likes to throw around the word "anti-trust".

dagamer34 said,

Because the EU dislikes bundling of services with Windows and likes to throw around the word "anti-trust".


Oh screw EU. Microsoft has a much larger user base in the US and Asia. They should make a special version for the EU, one that's stripped of all the default apps. They already have a N version with the Media Player gone. They could do it for this too.

gzAsher said,

Oh screw EU. Microsoft has a much larger user base in the US and Asia. They should make a special version for the EU, one that's stripped of all the default apps. They already have a N version with the Media Player gone. They could do it for this too.

Sadly, even if Microsoft were to write off the EU, a lot of support and companies that support Asia and Africa are based out of Europe.

(Even HP/EDS's support/consulting groups for a large portion of the world are based in Europe.)

dagamer34 said,

Because the EU dislikes bundling of services with Windows and likes to throw around the word "anti-trust".

Thanks to the phenomenal success of Apple over recent years, nobody could realistically accuse Microsoft of having a monopoly. Apple are now all the way up to 4% (globally). Hence no anti-trust. For the first time in a decade, Microsoft's products don't have to be approved by a judge in Mannheim.

AdamUCF_ said,

Doesn't support snapped view at the moment.

It doesn't? I'm pretty sure that is a requirement for WinRT apps. However, this is a leaked beta... so maybe that is coming later.

rfirth said,

It doesn't? I'm pretty sure that is a requirement for WinRT apps. However, this is a leaked beta... so maybe that is coming later.


Would be silly if they wouldnt.

rfirth said,

It doesn't? I'm pretty sure that is a requirement for WinRT apps. However, this is a leaked beta... so maybe that is coming later.

I'm thinking that's exactly why it doesn't, it's a leaked beta version. Final will support snap like with everything else.

warwagon said,
Why do all Modern UI's look the same. Just a screen filled with squares and rectangles.
Because if it didn't look like that, it wouldn't be Modern

warwagon said,
Why do all Modern UI's look the same. Just a screen filled with squares and rectangles.

Consistency? What's the point of unifying everything if it's not going to be consistent?

warwagon said,
Why do all Modern UI's look the same. Just a screen filled with squares and rectangles.

All modernUI based stuff look like s***.

The Dark Knight said,
Windows 8 is anything but consistent.

You guys need to make up your mind. Is it consistent, or is it not? It's silly how some are complaining that it's not consistent, and some are complaining that it's too consistent.

rfirth said,

You guys need to make up your mind. Is it consistent, or is it not? It's silly how some are complaining that it's not consistent, and some are complaining that it's too consistent.


people will always moan and complain, its what allot of people to best.
Its not that they actually hate Windows 8 and Modern, but they are either afraid of change, or just make a (half assed) attempt to act 'cool'.

Shadowzz said,

people will always moan and complain, its what allot of people to best.
Its not that they actually hate Windows 8 and Modern, but they are either afraid of change, or just make a (half assed) attempt to act 'cool'.

Umm, have you taken a good look at the UI? Specifically the non-metro side??

Volume, power profiles, time and calendar appear like they did in Windows 7 (except without Aero), but Network connections /Wireless Networks needs to take up one quarter of the screen??!!

Within Windows Explorer, only some of the icons have changed to the flat metro look, most of them are still using Vista and 7 versions!

If you go to Control Panel, you will see that File Backup and Recovery is called "Windows 7 Back....." instead of "Windows 8 Backup....."!! Is THIS their level of QC?!

In the Start screen, User account settings and Sign out are in one section, and Power, Log off etc are in another.

There are TWO control panels now; one that we have been using all this while, and the new one called PC Settings. Why couldn't they have just merged PC Settings with Control Panel, or the other way around?!


You call all of the above consistent?! I could go on and on, but I won't. Accept the fact, Windows 8 is an inconsistent and incomplete MESS!

warwagon said,
Why do all Modern UI's look the same. Just a screen filled with squares and rectangles.

Because in Microsoft's reality distorted world, Tetris equates to a Modern UI, now in the real world...

warwagon said,
Why do all Modern UI's look the same. Just a screen filled with squares and rectangles.

Have you ever seen a TV Show and series of Movies called StarTrek?

If you are a UI designer, the display and interface constructs have a very similar look and feel to Metro. (Just set your background color to black/near-black))


Any Trekkie should love Modern UI/Metro, as it a UI concept going back a lot of years, especially showcased in the Next Gen.

BTW The UI concepts and usability in Star Trek were based on 'traditional' graphical design and typography concepts. (Just like Microsoft's research worked from as well.)

warwagon said,
Why do all Modern UI's look the same. Just a screen filled with squares and rectangles.

your already looking at one screen showing you stuff, the modern UI looks great.

First question is how'd you get it?

But also, does it work in the background? In other words, does it have the option to stay connected even when I don't have the app open?

jhoff80 said,
First question is how'd you get it?

But also, does it work in the background? In other words, does it have the option to stay connected even when I don't have the app open?


Yes. Supports the lock screen too.

jimmyfal said,
Liking the Modern UI moniker, works, Metro shmetro. Now gimme Skype on the XBOX please....

Ditto here! Metro is simple and smooth. Hoping for Skype on XBL SOON!

Ahmed Nefzaoui said,
Couldn't you just "blur" the things you wanna hide ?
Oh and by the way get us a link too

He probably used MS Paint and not Photoshop

ShareShiz said,

He probably used MS Paint and not Photoshop


paint.net is good, very quick and handy. even more easy/fun/quick than opening MS paint.

Toysoldier said,
I know Win8 is all about "boxy" but those black boxes really ruin the UI /s

I was about to say, "are you kidding?" then I noted the "/s"

Toysoldier said,
I know Win8 is all about "boxy" but those black boxes really ruin the UI /s

Totally scrolled up to see what you were talking about. Commenced lulzing.

Dot Matrix said,
Did you have to side load this?

Side loading PC apps... something about saying that just feels so fundamentally wrong, but I guess it's a good thing for the future (less viruses, crapware, etc.)

Trueblue711 said,

Side loading PC apps... something about saying that just feels so fundamentally wrong, but I guess it's a good thing for the future (less viruses, crapware, etc.)

Isn't that what you do most of the time anyway? Download the application from some website, install it?

~Johnny said,

Isn't that what you do most of the time anyway? Download the application from some website, install it?

Well done, but thats the point here.
Sideloading is a new term thats come about because we can't simply download it from a website, and then install it anymore.

Trueblue711 said,

Side loading PC apps... something about saying that just feels so fundamentally wrong, but I guess it's a good thing for the future (less viruses, crapware, etc.)

I have to say that the first thing that came to my mind when I got my hands on Windows 8 DP was that soon I would have to jb my windows. Crapware, malware or not, that is just plain wrong. PC is not a device, its a personal computer.
But we'll see, I guess.