Earlier today, we witnessed what the long awaited Universal Skype experience looked like, and now, we've received a tip with a link to the yet publicly unannounced beta for the apps, available for download from the Windows Store by anyone on Windows 10 Mobile.
The experience is, at the moment, divided between the Messaging Skype Beta, Video Skype Beta and the Phone apps. On the Messaging app, your Skype and SMS messages are aggregated and are also explicitly distinguished, with a blue background for Skype messages, in comparison to your phone's accent colour for a SMS. When you open a contact, the name is also highlighted as such, based on whether you've selected the SMS or Skype option but, unfortunately, the home page of the app shows them all in a white colour, making it hard to differentiate whether the contact is available on Skype or Messaging.
The app, being a leaked beta, is still very buggy and slow, but it does work. You can easily change between SMS and Skype using a drop down at the top. Also included are options for an audio or video call, using the Skype Video Preview.
While Microsoft maintained the familiar layout and design of the Messaging app, some users might feel slightly confused, as the call option, which previously made a call using your carrier, now alternates between that and a Skype audio call based on the option you've selected in the drop down menu.
One of the biggest issues I noticed with the app was the delayed notifications and - when they did go through - double notifications, if you've also got the standalone Skype app already installed.
The Skype Video Preview is, as the name suggests, for Video calls. Once you open it, you're directly routed to a screen with your front camera open (no options for choosing the rear shooter either), which seems counter-intuitive and makes making the call itself much more complicated as you're left confused by where the controls are positioned.
Once you do find them using the pivot at the bottom, you're met with "Add Friends" and "Add Contacts", leaving you once again confused over what the difference is. The latter allows you to add a new Skype contact while the former will scour the email of your existing contacts to see if they already use Skype - and give you the option to add them to your Skype directory. However, the list of contacts seems to have no obvious means of organisation as of yet, and isn't in any particular order.!
The option for making the actual call comes in the form of the 'People' icon, which lets you choose who to call. Alternatively, you can just choose someone from your phone history, which is also displayed.
Another problem we noticed is that, for some inexplicable reason, after a bit of use, the camera panel was replaced by a solid green colour and no amount of restarting the app seemed to solve the problem. The only solution was restarting the phone.
On the Phone app, the only sign of the integration at the moment is that calls made using the Skype Video Beta are shown alongside your cellular call history.
In all, the Universal Skype experience is one to look forward to but, at the moment, there are quite a few number of bugs. With that being said, this is still a leaked beta, so the situation is understandable.
If you're intrepid enough to try it out, however, you can do so by downloading the app from here.