Nintendo updated its mobile Switch app last night with some major improvements. While it sounds like an obvious feature, version 1.1.0 of the Switch mobile app finally lets you use voice chat while using other apps, or with your phone's screen off.
The Switch app first came out in July to coincide with Splatoon 2, but it left a lot to be desired. The mobile communication app constricted players to invite others solely through their phones. In Splatoon 2, which is the only game that currently supports the feature, you'll need to create a custom online multiplayer room before you can start sending chat invites to your friends. It's a very roundabout way that doesn't actually solve anything, not when it's actually easier to hop onto Discord or Skype for the same basic chat service, at least when it comes to the Switch.
Nintendo first announced that the Switch would charge a subscription for its online services back at launch, but the news that a mobile app would take the place of an in-console chat service didn't exactly thrill a lot of players. The online service's free period was extended until 2018.
Hopefully more updates will improve the app's services especially since Nintendo does eventually plan on charging for its online services. The paid subscription will include online play, access to the voice chat, and a Virtual Console library of rotating retro games.