Windows Phone's Skype App Hits Beta
Microsoft announced that a beta of the Skype app for Windows Phone is now available for download.
Microsoft and Skype announced the beta's release on Monday at the Mobile World Congress event taking place in Barcelona this week. Users of Windows Phone 7.5, previously code-named "Mango," can download the free beta directly from their smartphones here or at the Windows Phone Marketplace here.
While the beta is not feature-complete -- the final version will arrive in April, according to this Skype blog -- it includes basic functions such as the ability to make calls to land lines and mobile phones, Skype-to-Skype audio and video calling, and group or individual instant messaging.
The app also integrates closely with Windows Phone's tile-based, "Metro"-style user interface, Microsoft said in its announcement. "Users will see its simplicity in how the app pivots around two key content areas: contacts and messages, where recent calls, IMs, and voice mails will be grouped together," the company said.
Rick Osterloh, Skype's vice president of products and design, added, "Metro is very simple, very easy to use, and very intuitive, and we fully embraced the model. Skype looks great with Metro and delivers a clean and consistent experience on all Windows Phone 7.5 devices."
Below is a video demo of the Skype app on Windows Phone:
The Skype team says it has tested the app on several Windows Phone devices: Samsung's Focus S and Focus Flash, HTC's Titan and Radar, and Nokia's 710 and 800 smartphones.
However, the team emphasized that the beta version of the app is far from perfect. "Remember, this is a Beta, so not all features will be working properly," Skype warned in this blog post.
"Skype 0.2.0.0 Beta for Windows Phone has currently a few not implemented features and known issues," the blog said. "Most notably Skype is currently only in English, though we plan to expand the number of languages in the production release. Skype for Windows Phone does not run in the background, thus you will not be able to receive incoming calls and chats if Skype is not in foreground."
A list of the beta's known issues, including workarounds, is available here.
Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.