Microsoft reveals Skype Lite Android app, optimised for India

Microsoft has announced Skype Lite, a new version of the company’s video-calling app developed to make the most of 2G or unstable internet connections.

At a Future Decoded event in India, Microsoft revealed the Android App, which takes up only 13MB, and is designed to consume less battery power than the standard Skype app. It also comes with a mode to reduce data usage in video calls, as well as SMS capabilities and India-focused bots that can automate tasks such as gathering news and checking the weather.

Microsoft claims the app is “built in India, for users in India”, and it certainly looks like a move from the company to place a stake on the country’s mobile internet revolution. India is predicted to see huge growth in mobile internet usage over the coming decade, and a number of big US companies – including Apple, Google and particularly Facebook – have made moves to court Indian markets. Last year, for example, Facebook announced WhatsApp hit 160 million monthly active users in the country.

Skype Lite will work in seven languages: Gujarati, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. It will also integrate with Aadhaar, India’s national digital identity scheme, which will allow users to verify the person they are speaking to. Microsoft gave the example of a Skype job interview, where one party may need to authenticate the identity of the other. Once the call is finished, the verification data is deleted from the device.

The free app is available from the Google Play store. Although the app is currently focused on India, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Microsoft eventually angle it towards other emerging markets. 

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