Microsoft Teams calls might actually be useable on phones now

Microsoft Teams
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Ink Drop)

Microsoft Teams has a host of new updates coming this month, many of which are focused on delivering improvements for smartphone users. 

Although the majority of Teams users will experience the platform on their PCs or laptops, the rise of remote working has also involved many employees working from their smartphones, meaning that Microsoft has had to improve the user experience for individuals that prefer the smaller screen.

Perhaps the most noteworthy new feature is that Teams phones now support a new video layout, including a 3x3 gallery view. Using the 3x3 layout, users can see up to nine meeting participants at any one time. Larger meetings can employ a bigger gallery view that shows up to 49 participants, although that doesn’t sound particularly great unless your phone is incredibly large.

Teams on the small screen

Other new additions for phone users of Microsoft Teams include a new Together Mode where participants are transported to a virtual shared space. Background blurring is also provided to help participants remove distractions from their video calls.

In addition, for more spontaneous moments of collaboration, phone users will now be able to select ‘Meet Now’ – a new instant meeting feature. And screen sharing will be made available for certain touch screen audio phones that meet the minimum hardware requirements.

Other new features include spotlighting a particular video and a request to speak feature for when participants have been muted. With the video conferencing space becoming increasingly competitive as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft Teams is clearly working hard to outdo its competitors in the smartphone space.

“The Teams devices portfolio strives to give users options based on the space they use for work, the kind of collaboration they engage in, and their personal preferences for when and how they choose to get things done,” the Microsoft Teams blog explains. 

“We are constantly working to provide an intuitive and familiar experience for Teams on every device type, and this means carrying over the great features we have for meetings and calling into the phone experience as well.”

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.