Earlier in January, Microsoft announced that it would bring a group chat feature to the Skype app on mobile devices over "the next few weeks," but never locked down a specific launch window. Today, the popular video chatting app will begin to support group video calling, similar to its web counterpart, on iOS and Android (via Engadget).
The new feature will allow as many as 25 participants in a single Skype video chat, with 1080p video quality, and access to both front and back cameras. Much like the PC and Mac apps, the person talking will dynamically be rearranged to the center of the experience while everyone listening will be delegated to smaller tiles. The app will also let users pin someone in particular to the center tile to keep their face in a locked location even if they aren't speaking.
For the ultimate get together experience, group video calls are in glorious HD quality and optimized specifically for the device you’re using, giving a more natural feel to the call. The person talking is displayed front and center and video is immersive and full screen. Audio is also crystal clear, thanks to our SILK Super Wide Band audio codec in our cloud conferencing stack. To achieve this, we’re proud to have worked with one of Microsoft’s biggest partners, Intel, which helped enable us to optimize SILK Audio specifically for Azure running on Intel processors.
With the update, Microsoft will make it easier to invite non-Skype users into calls as well, allowing a video chat group's participants to invite anyone to the conversation by sending a link through a messaging app like iMessage, and bypassing the traditional need for their Microsoft account information.
Beginning first in the United States and Europe, the rollout for the mobile group chat feature is expected to be completed within a week. The company hopes that worldwide support will be finished sometime by the end of March.