Emoticons are nothing new for Skype or any other instant messaging client. Why, then, are they worth mentioning in version 5.3's changelog? Because now they're big. If you send a message containing only an emoticon, Skype will display a large version, complete with animation. Expressions appended to the end of a sentence, on the other hand, will continue to show up tiny.

While you're checking out these screenshots, also note the app's bubble style chat layout, which has now made its way over from other platforms to Android.

Skype1 Skype2

A few other changes have made it into this release. Conversations will no longer jump to the most recent message as it comes in, allowing you to more easily scroll up to read ongoing conversations. Additionally, you can change and view avatars in all of your group chats.

Qik, a separate video messaging app now owned by the same folks, has also received an update. Version 1.5 introduces eight new effects you can apply while shooting your videos. Options include X-ray, mirroring, and pixelation. To access them, tap the magic wand that floats in the bottom left corner.

Qik1 Qik2

Skype 5.3 is still rolling out, but you can already find Qik 1.5 in the Play Store below.

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

The app was not found in the store. :-(