Skype for Business Android (Preview): First Look


NOTE: This is Preview product and final may have changes.

The Skype for Business Android Preview has now started. (

Some of the changes I’ve noticed in summary

  • Obviously Skype colors and styles
  • The Home/Dashboard screen is Upcoming meetings, Recent Conversations & Search Contacts
  • Favorites Contacts are in a “grid” format compared to Lync “list” format (uses tablet width more gracefully)

Some critiques

  • buttons/areas for changing between Home/Dashboard, Contacts, Dialer/Voicemail and Change Presence screens are fairly small buttons
  • Changing between screens is not 1 click (Home/Dashboard, Contacts, Dialer/Voicemail and Change Presence screens)
    • for example: changing between contacts and dialer navigation is back, then dialer instead of just tapping dialer from the contacts screen

The new Android client uses a grid arrangement for contacts as opposed to the Lync list format for contacts. (as shown above)


Contacts and Contact Groups


Favorites and other lists


The Skype for Business Android home screen has areas for Contact Search, Upcoming Meetings and Recent conversations. Microsoft is calling the home screen the “Dashboard”.


The Active Call window looks very “Skype”.


Change presence.


Dialer has new colors, but otherwise looks like Lync.


Looks like Microsoft is doing some nice work in bring Skype for Business branding and features to Android.

Announcing Skype4B Android (

What’s New in Skype for Business Android ( article)

Jabra Speak 810: Pre-Review Observations on the “Puck” That Grew Up


I have always liked the Jabra Speak devices ever since I got my first “puck”, which is now a staple in my traveling computer bag. It’s interesting to see Jabra go up market and I am especially interested in their new “Zoom Talk Microphone” technology that is designed to filter out sounds other than the human voice. (I’m hoping to do a hands on review just as soon as I gets my hands on this device)

Quick List of Specs of Note:

  • Connectivity
    • USB
    • NFC
    • Bluetooth
    • 3.5mm jack
  • 4 microphones
  • “Zoom Talk Microphones” filters human voice from background noise
    • eliminate keyboard typing sounds
    • dog barking (but who has one of these in a 15 person conference call?)
  • Support up to 15 users
  • Doesn’t need satellite microphones
    • marketing video shows Jabra Speak 510 and 410 beside the 810, but this is NOT to suggest the need satellite speakers
  • Powered by …
  • USB charge out port lets you charge a tablet or phone
  • Kensington lock slot
  • Size 14” long by 7.5” wide (source)
  • Looks like standard Jabra Speak call control buttons and no remote.

Listed Price $599USD

Don’t get confused, the Speak 810 does not use satellite speaker/mics. Just clumsy? marketing.



Also see:

Jabra Marketing

Review of Plantronics Voyager Focus UC (B825-M) for Skype for Business


The Plantronics Voyager Focus UC is a Lync/Skype for Business Bluetooth wireless headset with ANC. A couple things I noted:

  • It's nice and light
  • Has a mic boom that looks suspiciously like the Voyager Legend
  • I noticed the Mic does a good job of canceling out background noise
  • The head band fits nice and is light
  • 8 volume levels
  • The mute button on the mic boom is red so you don’t miss it
  • Older Plantronics Blackwire has a sewn seam in the leather that came apart with use for me and I notice the Focus no longer has that point of possible failure
  • White led in base to indicates power, blue led on answer button.


  • No ringer in the charging base (but very few headsets have this)
  • USB cable for base might be a little short (not a big issue)
  • The case has no little pouch for the Bluetooth dongle which would be nice to avoid loosing it

Watch my video review and improvements over the older Blackwire design.

Below is my review slide show:

Overall I think the Plantronics Voyager Focus UC will make a very nice wireless headset that wears nice and does a good job of canceling noise from the microphone and an option to turn on ANC to speakers.

Hands On Review of the Microsft Surface Hub: It’s a Collaboration Device, Not a Room System


I finally got some hands on time to play with the Surface Hub and my impressions have been adjusted considerably. As someone who works with Lync & Skype for Business continuously I was thinking in terms of “this is a Lync Room System” replacement (when, in fact, Microsoft made no such claim. It just looks like one physically and does meetings so it is easy for Lync/Skype for Business pro’s to think in this direction) It really is a collaboration device that can also do meetings.

The way I would describe the Surface Hub is a specialty Windows 10 PC with a user interface tailored for large touch screen applications meant to be interacted with by touch. Instead of the standard Windows 10 user interface the Surface Hub runs apps inside a black border (black frame around the applications).  This black frame around the apps includes quick navigation shortcuts to things like Make a Call, Instant Message and more. These shortcuts can reinforce the “It’s a Room System” misunderstanding but once again, this device is really about collaboration in front of a large touchscreen with the added ability to do Skype for Business meetings & calls.


A few things about the Skype for Business application that runs on the Surface Hub. First, it is a Skype for Business Universal app written specifically for the Surface Hub. It also has a unique feature not in the standard or Windows Store Skype for Business client which is that it can switch between two cameras automatically. (I would love this functionality in standard app & SDK) The Surface Hub has two cameras on the left and right and as you move around in front of the Surface Hub it will detect which is the best camera and automatically switch to it. Also note that the cameras are angled and very wide angle so they catch the action directly in front of the Hub, which is another indicator the Hub tailored for active collaboration in front of the device as opposed to a room system orientation.


[in progress article, more coming]



Video Below

It’s a platform to run large screen applications, not a Room System.