Today, Skype is delivering on a promise that it made back in July of last year. That's a long while to wait for an update, but this one is pretty major. In short, the team has carefully crafted an update for Skype for Android that allows it to run in the background with virtually no impact on battery life. That's what they're claiming, anyway.

Essentially, the application (and the service as a whole) had to undergo some major re-thinking, which led to a "transformation" of the way Skype actually works. The end result, however, was clearly worth all the work, and they're pretty proud of where the app stands as of today.

However, in order to get such aggressive battery management, instant notifications for group chat messages have been temporarily disabled. The Skype team has already promised to bring this feature back in a future release (with no impact on the battery life). If that's something you rely on now, though, there's an option to "sync group messages" so you won't miss a thing. Except maybe some battery life. Can't win 'em all, I guess. At least not for now.

Aside from the battery optimizations, this version also features a few other small fixes:

  • Workaround for the KitKat bug which caused a runaway process when the camera was synced in the background.
  • Fix for audio and video calling on tablets that do not have Bluetooth.
  • Now lists your Windows Live Messenger contacts in the Skype (default) view, not just the All contacts view.

Like what you see? The app is already live in Google Play, so give it a download and see what's good.

Skype - free IM & video calls
Skype - free IM & video calls
Developer: Skype
Price: Free