April 23, 2012
Skype Comes To Windows Phone
Skype has been long-awaited on the Windows Phone platform ever since Microsoft bought the company for $8.5 billion nearly a year ago.
Skype released a beta version of the app in February at the Mobile World Conference. In the time since its beta release, the app has gone through some improvements, including support for 18 languages, video in portrait mode, and call-in-progress notifications, which allow incoming chats to be viewed and responded to while a call is in progress.
Skype for Windows Phone also allows users to place video calls on WiFi or 3G and 4G networks.
Skype will only be available to those users with a device running Windows Phone 7.5–“Mango”– or above. Those devices running the older “Tango” version of the operating system will not be supported. According to Skype, 7 specific phones were tested for optimal performance: Nokia Lumia 710, Lumia 800, Lumia 900, HTC´s Titan and Radar and Samsung´s Focus S and Focus Flash.
According to The Verge, older handsets may be left out due to insufficient RAM. Skype needs 512MB of RAM to run, and older handsets only offer 256MB to the user.
The Verge's Tom Warren says, however, that this incompatibility with Tango devices is a “known issue,” and Microsoft´s Skype team plans to support these older devices in a future update.
Another let down for some users is the lack of background and multi-tasking capabilities. This means users can only receive calls if the app is running at the forefront, otherwise the call won´t be connected.
According to their “Big Blog,” Skype says, “This is the first of many releases to come for Windows Phone, so stay tuned for even more capabilities in the future. We believe in the great potential of the Windows Phone platform and will continue to invest over time to enable experiences unmatched by any other app in the market.”
The new app is free in the Windows Phone Marketplace and weighs in at 6MB.
When Microsoft acquired Skype last year, many expected them to begin integrating video-conferencing into their apps and operating systems.
As CNET reports, Microsoft is expected to tightly integrate Skype into future versions of Windows Phone and Windows 8. Windows 8 will run on computers and tablets alike. Some early leaks, however, suggest Skype will remain a standalone app available for download, rather than an integrated app.
Windows could also use Skype to make Xbox and outlook more social, allowing video chatting within these popular Microsoft services.
At the time of acquisition, Skype had more than 663 million users worldwide. Of these users, 8.8 million paid for the service, allowing them to make calls to landlines and cell phones.
Skype also has apps available for other platforms, such as BlackBerry, Android, and iOS. Skype can also be used on computers and even Skype-ready televisions.