I'm hoping that a chat banner notification is for really great chats only and not some subtle distinction between chat notification types that I can't figure out even after some moderate to heavy googling. If anyone knows seriously please tell me.
Skype for Android is finally getting there. Push support means that it is now useful for more than conditioning your battery. Conversation read status is mostly synced between different client instances which is a big time saver. I'm actually starting to use it.
There is one horrible usability crime. When you open the app you get a list of unread conversations. Your set your finger in flight to the first one and then notice an ad sliding down from the top of the screen. With horror you realize it's too late to change course and you hit the ad instead of the conversation.
I'm not complaining about Skype being ad supported here, but if you were going to try and design a UI to trick people into clicking ads you really couldn't do better than this. I expect better from Microsoft.
Other than this the only real complaint is that new posts to group messages sometimes make it through to the notification bar and sometimes don't. You have to run the app periodically to see if there is something new.
It's a nice streamlined UI and for the first time on Android it actually loads the 15,422 chats I'm required to participate in work and is usable and responsive. I've used it for a few days and really want to like it.
Even though it's faster and prettier it still destroys battery life. Imo.im ad Plus.im manage to handle multiple networks all day without putting a noticeable dent int the battery. With Skype up and running my phone is dead by the early evening. It's useless.
They also haven't fixed syncing the read state of messages which is the worst deficiency of Skype on both mobile and the desktop. Imo.im did this wonderfully until Skype cut them off at the kneecaps.
Back to Plus.im for now...
There are things I still sort of like about Skype. I use it a lot for video calls (although for work and muti-party video it's pretty much all about Google Hangouts these days). I have a Philips phone that integrates with Skype for international calls (they seem to have discontinued it, and while the calls are cheap the UI is baroque). But the IM is horrible. It can't remember which messages you've seen between devices and so you're constantly trying to figure out what you have and haven't read.
And the IM on the desktop is nothing compared to the horror of the Skype Android app. This slowly spins up and by the time it's loaded previous messages your battery is dead.
Imo.im made Skype IM tolerable on Android and possible on a Chromebook. In the last week it seems that Skype has kneecapped them and blocked their servers from signing in. I'm limping by with IM+ Pro at the moment, but it's slow and buggy and frustrating.
I sympathize with Imo.im. I've been stiffed by Skype before as an officially sanctioned partner so it's no shock that they'd take out this kind of tool.
It would be nice if they could fix mobile and web access to the network first though.