Tuesday 13 November 2012

Microsoft releases Skype for Windows Phone 8

An important app missing on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 devices, which is available on other platforms, was the Skype app. According to Pocket-Lint, the Redmond-based company has released a Skype app for WP8 for the Nokia Lumia 920, Lumia 820, HTC 8X and 8S.

The app has been labelled as a preview release, as opposed to a final version. The WP8 Skype app offers additional features over the original WP7.5 version, and offers greater connectivity with the rest of the phone. The biggest new feature of the app is the ability to be left on in the background. Skype contacts can also be seen in the People Hub, thus letting you start new conversations with just a tap.

Recently, Microsoft had announced that the company is phasing out its Messenger service, and has started migrating contacts to Skype. As per the blog post, Skype states that Messenger users will be able to reach their Messenger friends on Skype. Messenger users will have the ability to instant message (IM) and video-call their contacts by updating to Skype.

Skype states that this effort started with the release of Skype 6.0 for Mac and Windows a few weeks ago, which allows users to sign into Skype using a Microsoft account. Now Messenger users need to update to the latest version of Skype, sign in using a Microsoft account, and they will find their Messenger contacts moved there.

Tony Bates, president, Skype division at Microsoft states, “Our goal remains to deliver the best communications experience for everyone, everywhere. We want to focus our efforts on making things simpler for our users while continuously improving the overall experience. We will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 (with the exception of mainland China where Messenger will continue to be available).”

Skype states that over the next few months it will help users with the transition process and assist them with other information. To help users learn how to get the most out of Skype, the VoIP service states that they should be on the lookout for some special offers later this year as users join their Messenger friends in the migration.

Skype recently released its latest version, Skype 6.0, for Mac and Windows desktop users. The update brought to the table Microsoft and Facebook account integration. Users can now sign into Skype using either their Microsoft or Facebook accounts. In Skype 6.0, users can send instant messages to their Windows Live Messenger, Hotmail, and Outlook.com contacts via Skype. Users with Microsoft accounts can merge the MS account with Skype. All they have to do is sign in to Skype with their Microsoft accounts.

At the time, Skype announced that it has in the pipeline a feature with which users can make audio and video calls to Windows Live Messenger customers on Skype desktop clients. The feature will be rolled out in the weeks to come.

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