Microsoft said in April that it is working on a standalone Skype messaging app for India. Six months later, it seems the app's release is imminent, as the company has begun a beta testing program for the standalone messaging app that's optimised for 2G and 3G networks.
On Skype's website, the company has quietly started a testing program seeking enthusiasts to check out and provide feedback for the forthcoming app for Android. Those who're interested need to fill up a survey, and Microsoft would pick a handful of them. Testers will not be able share their experiences publicly, Microsoft explains in a Skype Community post
Designed for Indian users, the company had noted that the forthcoming app would be very light on bandwidth and memory usage. It would allow users to make video and voice calls even on slower networks.
At the time, the company had said that the app would be available for Lumia and Nokia Asha handsets. The beta testing program reveals the company's plan to release the app on Google's Android platform as well.
Not everyone has access to fast Internet connections, and many tech giants have started to realise the potential of this largely untapped market segment. Facebook, for instance, earlier this year launched Lite, a light version of its marquee service in several regions including India. Google too has a Web Light program wherein it offers users with significantly lighter webpages.
Bandwidth issue remains a problem on messenger clients. While there are plenty of apps and services that offer voice and video calling functionalities, these apps usually hog a lot of data. If Skype manages to find a way to reduce the data usage, it could attract a number of users.
Skype team has been hard at work of lately. The team has added a number of features to their service. Most recently, Skype added support for "Mojis" that are movie-based gif images. The company also recently enhanced search on Skype's Android and iOS client. The company recently released a new Messaging app for Windows 10 Mobile preview, with deep Skype integration.