Microsoft lobs out first Skype for Windows Phone
Now does straight-up video calls
Microsoft has delivered the first version of Skype for Windows Phone.
Available through the Windows Phone Marketplace, the free app eats up 6MB of space and works on devices from version 7.5 and higher.
Since releasing the beta in February, Microsoft has added the ability to make video calls in portrait mode along with friend management capabilities that include the ability to send and accept invitations, and block and unblock contacts. It's also available in 18 languages.
Microsoft said Skype has been tested and certified to work on seven handsets – three Nokia Lumias, two from HTC and two from Samsung.
The app comes a year after Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5bn, Redmond's most expensive acquisition. Skype is now a separate division inside Microsoft.
At the time of the deal, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer promised that while Skype would be developed for Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox Kinect, Outlook, Hotmail, and Lync, it would also continue to support non-Microsoft platforms.
What Microsoft didn't say at the time is that Skype would be integrated with Internet Explorer, too.
Just last week, the company put up an ad for the position of software engineer to test its work of putting Skype in the browser.
You might wonder why Microsoft would want this, given one trend in web development has been to break out of the browser – especially when Skype functions using its own, non-browser-based web app.
It's important to remember, however, that an important part of Microsoft's development model is to integrate its software and services in the name of "improving or simplifying the user experience" – and thereby give it something to sell to customers. ®
"M$ is very late in getting into the smartphone market"
Microsoft was making smartphone software half a decade before Apple - around the same time as Palm and RIM first put smartphone products out.
They may not be doing well in this market but they were not too late in joining in.
"Hi, I'm going to skype you..."
"...so turn the app on then hang up this phone call"
Re: Windows Phone is a disaster
I don't know why you've been marked down because it's an observable limitation of Skype on Windows Phone. The app runs quite nicely in the foreground but it is utterly useless if you intend to receive calls.
Windows Phone doesn't permit multitasking for standard applications so when Skype is not in the foreground it is suspended. The closest thing WP has to multitasking is periodic background agents and these only run once every 30 minutes rendering them completely useless for Skype.
The sad part is that Microsoft don't see in a hurry to change this stupid restriction either. There was a recent Windows 8 blog entry stating that Metro apps in Windows 8 would suffer the same limitation. I can understand why default they might enforce this behaviour but there should be a way for apps that wish to override it to do so even if the user must grant the app special permission.
Compare and contrast to Android where not only can you run apps in the background if you like but VOIP apps such as Viber can even override the default dialler so the VOIP is integrated seamlessly into the phone experience.