New Windows 8 Skye App
October 22, 2012

Skype Intros New App For Windows 8 Launch

Enid Burns for — Your Universe Online

If you were wondering when you'd see the reason Microsoft acquired Skype, wait for the Windows 8 launch later this week. The VoIP provider will launch Skype for Windows 8, the company said this week.

Skype promises the new app will deliver "an experience that is simpler, faster and easier to use," it says in Microsoft's news center. Skype for Windows 8 offers IM, audio and video calls, and also takes advantage of new features and functionality of Windows 8. Windows 8 allows for the integration of the People Hub, the ability to pin favorite contacts as a tile for one-step contact, and Skype Live Tile, which shows messages and notifications on the start screen.

On the Windows 8 platform, Skype is always on so people will be able to contact you for voice, video or text chats. Users will be able to snap Skype to the left or right of the screen, freeing up the rest of the screen to view other applications or websites simultaneously.

While Windows 8 is a big release, information on the Skype Blog says the team at Skype has been building on the Windows platform for some time. The new version, optimized for Windows 8, enhances the app and brings out new features.

Skype will also make it easier to call landlines and mobile phones directly. A new modern dial pad allows for that functionality. It also shows users how much Skype Credit is left, as well as showing the status of active subscriptions and recent calls.

The facelift gives Skype a whole new design for the Windows 8 app, according to a CNET report. "Skype has received a bit of a face lift in the new app, featuring the new Windows look. This has resulted in a significantly different design than what current users have come to expect. However the new version does appear to be a bit simpler and more streamlined," the article says.

Microsoft acquired Skype last year for $8.5 billion. Operating under the Microsoft umbrella, the team likely had a directive to develop a Windows 8-specific app, and have it ready in time for launch. It is not known whether some of the new features for the Windows 8 app will make their way to other platforms including iOS, Android and PC.

Windows 8 isn't the only platform Skype's new app will run on. The app will also be available for the ARM-based Windows RT, which runs Surface RT tablets and devices. ZDNet says while the app will be available in the Windows Store this Friday - when Windows 8 launches - it won't be preinstalled. This is because Skype didn't make the internal deadline for pre-installation.

The version of Skype being offered for Windows 8 isn't just a tweak on Skype apps. The Skype team built the app from the ground up to give parent company Microsoft star treatment for the Windows 8 launch. With this launch Skype is taking a step away from a pure peer-to-peer (P2P) model and toward a hybrid model.