Microsoft has released a new preview of its Skype app for Windows Phone 8, bringing with it a number of performance enhancements and bug fixes. The biggest change, however, is the temporary removal of one of the app’s most exciting – if buggy – features: People Hub integration.
The app’s integration with the People Hub and its ability to run in the background and surface incoming chats and calls as if they were part of the OS are both cool and useful, making them banner features for Skype. Unfortunately, the former was known to cause stability issues with the People Hub, resulting in crashes and many other frustrating things. As a result, the feature has been temporarily disabled in Skype for Windows Phone 8 Preview 2.1. Hopefully, the Windows Phone and Skype teams will be able to quickly resolve the issue.
Thankfully, incoming chat and call notifications are now much more reliable and messages are also guaranteed to be displayed in the correct order. Other improvements include an updated keyboard with autocorrect, a new option to toggle toast notifications for Windows Live Messenger contacts (this is very helpful if you don’t want to have duplicate notifications from Skype and the Messaging Hub), and labels for friends who are on Windows Live Messenger rather than Skype.
Microsoft has released the final version of Skype on Windows Phone. The app entered beta on February 26, ending a painfully long wait for the popular chat and video VOIP app. The beta has been fairly well received, but it was only available to Windows Phone users via a special URL. In other words, searching for Skype on Windows Phone yielded zero results… until today.
The official release of the free Skype app includes all of the features you’d expect, including text, voice, and video chat. Contact management, landline calls, and a few other improvements are also included in v1.0. The only downside is that the app currently doesn’t support push notifications, which means that you must have the app running in order to receive calls.
Skype works on every Windows Phone handset on the market, but–as you might expect–two-way video chat isn’t ideal on devices that don’t feature a front-facing camera. As a result, the Nokia Lumia 900, Samsung Focus S, Samsung Focus Flash, HTC Titan II, HTC TITAN, and HTC Radar will have the best experience.
Those looking for another long-awaited app, Audible, might not have to wait much longer either. An unverified source claims that it will be released on April 23, and Windows Phone expert Paul Thurrott believes it just might be true. The SkyDrive app also received an update as well, making file management much easier.
After a long wait, Skype is now available on Windows Phone. Microsoft released a beta version of the app in conjunction with the Nokia press conference at World Mobile Congress on Monday. The final version isn’t expected until April, but the beta works extremely well. The interface is beautiful, making the process of instant messaging contacts or initiating a video call a breeze.
As one might expect, Skype beta for Windows Phone supports audio and video calls, landline calls, and group chat. The app will work on every Windows Phone device on the market running the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update, but only those with front-facing cameras will truly be able to take advantage of the power of Skype:
Nokia Lumia 710
Nokia Lumia 800
Nokia Lumia 900
Samsung Focus S
Samsung Focus Flash
Microsoft plans to add more features to Skype in the coming months. In the meantime, we highly recommend you download the beta today.
Internal Microsoft documentation, which correctly revealed information about the upcoming plans for 4G LTE devices and the $200 million marketing campaign, reportedly states that the Skype app will be released in the first half of 2012. The release will coincide with a heavy promotion of Windows Phone to Skype’s more than 170 million active users, as well as a push to make all of the “top 25 apps” from competing platforms available on Windows Phone.
It should be interesting to see how Microsoft integrates Skype into the Windows Phone operating system. Will it remain a standalone app, or will it be baked into the OS like Windows Live Messenger? Only time will tell. But with Microsoft’s plans to integrate Skype into its other offerings like Windows, Xbox, and Office, as well as Skype’s heavy presence on competing platforms, we can’t wait to see what happens. It might just turn into Window Phone’s “killer app.”
Skype might be in the process of being acquired by Microsoft, but that doesn’t mean its support for other platforms will languish. The latest version of Skype’s Android app, version 2.5, adds video support for a whole slew of new devices and includes a few new features.
The fourteen newly supported devices include the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, HTC Nexus One, HTC EVO 3D, Sony Ericsson Xperia Live with Walkman, Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V, LG Optimus Black, LG Optimus 3D, LG Optimus 2x, Motorola Photon, Motorola Droid 3, Motorola Bionic, Motorola Xoom, Motorola Atrix, and Acer Iconia. These devices join the 41 already supported.
Of course, this isn’t the only thing to be found in Skype 2.5. The update now includes support for Bluetooth headsets, in addition to allowing users to zoom in on video calls and switch between portrait and landscape mode. The free app can be found today on the Android Market.
Skype updated its Android app on Thursday, bringing support for two-way video chat to most Gingerbread-based Android phones. The popular VOIP service previously supported two-way video chat on just four Android handsets: the Samsung Google Nexus S (not the 4G version), the HTC Desire S, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo, and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro.
The latest update adds two-way video chat to seventeen new Android phones. These devices, of course, must be running the Gingerbread update, which added support for front-facing cameras.
A new job posting on the Skype Careers website has revealed the popular VOIP client’s plan to optimize the Skype Video Engine solution for Windows Phone and the core Windows OS. The plan is to “deliver a new release of the Video Engine every two months.”
Microsoft plans to integrate Skype with its other VOIP solutions such as Windows Live Messenger and Lync, as well as add Skype audio and video chat to such products and services as Windows Phone, Kinect for Xbox 360, and Windows. Some of the devices in Microsoft’s fall lineup of Windows Phones are expected to include front-facing cameras, perfect for Skyping with friends and family. The Skype app will be released on Windows Phone this fall.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Skype, says Reuters. The US antitrust approval, which was announced this afternoon, will no doubt be the first of many, as other countries around the world are sure to voice their support as well.
The deal, while surprising, may actually be good for the Redmond-based company. Bringing Skype into the fold will increase Microsoft’s already impressive IM user base by 663 million registered users, 170 million of which are active. When it is all said and done, the deal will bring Microsoft’s IM market share up to 68%. Windows Live Messenger, according to OPSWAT, ”accounts for just over 40% of the installed IM applications, followed by Skype, which accounts for more than a quarter of the installations.”
Microsoft is confident that the deal will be approved by the end of the year. The FTC’s go-ahead is the first step toward realizing this goal. Skype’s tighter integration will be good for Windows Phone users, but it will be interesting to see how the cellphone carriers react.
This morning, Microsoft and Skype announced that the software giant will be acquiring the popular audio/video service for $8.5 billion. Rumors of the deal surfaced on Sunday evening and grew into a frenzy last night. Shockingly, the rumors were true.
Microsoft had a lot to talk about during its Windows Phone-centric keynote at MIX 2011. Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president and director of Windows Phone Program Management, came on stage to thank developers and reveal a few upcoming apps. Microsoft is seeing a lot of really good development on its new mobile platform. Great brands are joining Windows Phone and developers are coming up with intriguing ideas.
The beautiful Nokia Lumia 900 is manufactured from a single-piece injection-molded polycarbonate shell and features a 4.3-inch AMOLED ClearBlack Display (CBD), 1.4GHz processor, 16GB of internal memory, 512MB of RAM, and a 1830mAh battery. Performance-wise, it can best nearly every device on the market. The 8MP Carl Zeiss camera takes fantastic photos, and the quality of the 1MP front-facing camera is astounding. The intuitive Windows Phone OS, support for AT&T’s 4G LTE network, and $99 price tag are just icing on the cake.
Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX
The Motorola DROID RAZR was easily one of the best Android phones of 2011. It was one of the first seriously thin phones and it had the best specifications, durability, and styling to come out of Motorola in a long time. Now, with the introduction of the MAXX variant, it's almost irresistible, even to those currently locked into a contract. With Verizon’s 4G LTE, a 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and a 3300mAh battery pumping out over 21 hours of talk time, the Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX is ecstasy wrapped in Kevlar.