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.