Skype beta finally arrives for Windows Phone platform

By Lee Kaelin on February 28, 2012, 10:30 AM

It has been a very long time coming, but Skype has finally announced via their blog that the popular video chat client is now available as a beta release for Windows Phone 7 users. The wait might just have been worth it though, as the app features a beautifully designed Metro style interface and a completely new feel for those wishing to use the service for video calling over 3G and Wi-Fi.

It has been almost 10 months since Microsoft purchased Skype for $8.5 billion, and the company looks set to leverage that acquisition to provide a huge boost for its mobile platform.

Those that have used the Android and iOS versions of Skype will notice the differences immediately. Beyond the obvious Metro-UI appearance, the profile pages for contacts have been considerably improved, and there is now a handy jump list to make finding contacts even easier.

Skype for Windows phone supports video calling over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi, as well as text based chatting via pop up notifications. Group chatting and one to one instant messaging is also supported, as is the ability to use the service to call landlines and mobiles for a fee.

It will be available as a direct download on your handset, or it can be installed via the Marketplace on your PC and will work on all devices running the Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” OS release. However, Microsoft says the experience will work best on Nokia Lumia 710 and 800 handsets, the HTC Titan and Radar models, as well as Samsung’s Focus S and the Focus Flash smartphones.

Microsoft expects to release the "gold" version of the application sometime around April this year. Those wishing to download the new Skype beta app can do so here or by scanning the QR code below.




User Comments: 3

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treeski treeski said:

I picked it up last night and it is a VERY welcome download.

The app does have some major limitations though, and you can tell it's very much a beta.

Leeky Leeky said:

I'd love to hear your thoughts regarding it Treeski, as I've not had the opportunity to test it myself yet.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I haven't done any video calls in it, as I still have a Focus, so no front facing camera. But I've made regular calls and it works quite well. You can message, group message, and the interface is well designed.

The only problem I see, which I am certain they'll address by the time the public version is released, is the fact that there's no notifications, so there's no way for you to replay to a message, or even answer a call if not in the app.

I don't know how that's going to work, as WP7's current platform doesn't support completely "untombstoned" applications. That's the reason why WP7 does not technically have real multitasking.

I think this, and of course the <b>major</b> benefits of developing with native C++ code, are the main reasons WP Apollo will use Windows 8's kernel and WinRT.

Current Windows CE builds do not support multi-cores, which are necessary to run more intensive, "real" applications that developing natively would inevitably require. The reason why also the new WinRT model makes sense, is because of the high interoperability between WP7 and W8 code, but it will also hopefully allow superior (or real) multitasking, without affecting the great stability that the current platform enjoys. And to be quite honest, there's quite a few things I wouldn't mind missing to just be able to see things like native killer apps, efficient multitasking, and the long overdue third-party notification system, which will hopefully be the key factor for the Skype team to build an app that communicates with the end user without requiring him/her to have the app currently open.

Although WP7 does have notifications, for this kind of app it will require more engineering. It's just not there yet.

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