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Microsoft’s Skype for Business Preview program opens up for iOS and Android users

Microsoft is now rolling previews of its Skype for Business app for iOS and Android. The new iOS and Android clients for the app, the company’s unified communication services formerly known as Lync was announced back in November while it was made available to PC users in April.

Select users will now be able to try out Skype for Business on iOS and Android devices, as Microsoft is allowing IT administrators to nominate four users on each of the two platforms mentioned via the dedicated Skype Preview page.

The deadline to apply for the preview ends on Friday, August 14, and those selected will hear from the company as soon as next week.

According to Microsoft, the Preview program offers users early access to the newly introduced Skype for Business features, giving organizations a taste of what’s in-store while allowing them to test these new features in their own environment. The company adds that it’ll make amends based on the valuable feedback it receives from early testers before the app is made available to the general public.

The new business focused Skype app gets a slew of new features, for instance it’ll show contacts, recent conversations and upcoming meetings all on the user’s dashboard, instead of the default recent conversations view we’re used to in the general Skype app for iOS and Android.

Other notable change includes the improved Search functionality, as Skype for Business allows users to search the Global Address List on various parameters such as first name, last name, email alias and even phone numbers. While on iOS, users’ contacts are automatically included in the search results. In addition, users also have the option to jump into an ongoing session by selecting ‘Quick Join’ and can also click through to get more information about upcoming meetings.

Several tweaks have also been made to the calling experience, notably the addition of larger buttons for muting, adding participants and managing calls.

It also offers hassle-free switching between video and text as users can see both the options on the screen simultaneously.

Microsoft says the final version of Skype for Business will be available to all iOS and Android users sometime ‘later this year’, and will be compatible for any user on Lync server 2013, Skype for Business Online and Skype for Business Server 2015.