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(Pocket-lint) - Skype has announced a range of changes coming to the video calling platform, with a colourful redesign, faster speeds and reliability improvements all detailed.

The Microsoft-owned company set out the update in a blog post, giving us an early indication of what will arrive for users before the end of the year.

The visual overhaul is the most striking and significant change, with Skype noting that a number of new layouts and themes will now be available to select on video calls - something Skype calls the 'call stage'.

This will result in the grid showing everyone on a call regardless of their video status, all side by side with your own feed shown in the main slot.

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SkypeSkype redesign brings colourful new interface and performance boosts photo 2

As we say, though, there's plenty of customisation afoot. Users will still be able to switch away from the default and pick between speaker view, grid view, a large gallery and more, with different colours available for select buttons and chats. Coming later will be custom notifications sounds, as well as a new feature - TwinCam - that allows users to add their phone camera to a call.

And though the redesign to the interface is the headline change here, Skype also suggests that the update will introduce some performance boosts, too. In what the company calls 'key scenarios', performance will be improved by almost a third on the desktop app, and by over 2,000 percent - yes, 2000 percent - on Android.

Full browser support was also noted in the post, meaning that the app should remain reliable no matter which device and engine you're running from.

All in all, it's a welcome set of changes to a platform that has found itself in an interesting spot in recent times.

After trialling a more radical, Snapchat-like design a few years back (before quickly ditching), this feels more in keeping with video calling clients that flourished over the pandemic. The new design and performance tweaks should help it more ably rival the likes of Zoom, but only time will tell just how much ground it's able to make up.

Writing by Conor Allison. Originally published on 28 September 2021.