Microsoft has given everyone a first look at the new Skype for Windows Phone 8 app, and it’s clear that Microsoft has been hard at work leveraging their purchase of the VoIP service. This app is much more than Skype is on any other mobile OS.
That’s mainly due to its integration with the OS itself – once the Skype app is downloaded, Skype contacts will be put into your regular contact list. Making Skype calls, then, will be no different than making regular calls. This also means that you’ll be able to be permanently signed into Skype without actually running the app. You’ll also be able to receive messages and calls while not running the app, too. You can even have the app display notifications on the home screen indicating missed calls and messages.
The Skype Live Tile will tell you how many new messages you have received, and, if you enlarge the Live Tile all the way, will show you the most recent message you have received. Again, it’s completely integrated with the OS – once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll probably be using it mostly as a messenger app. That’s especially true when you consider that, if you choose to link up your Skype account with your Microsoft account, you’ll be able to access contacts from all of your other messaging services from within the app.
Should you run the app, you’ll see three panes – recent messages, favorites, and contacts, in that order. This is very similar to the Skype app on Windows 8, and the only knock on that is that it would be nice to be able to customize what order those panes come in. Microsoft’s line of thinking is that you’ll want to pick up where you left off on your most recent conversations first, before heading over to favorites and contacts to make new calls, which will certainly be true for some, and definitely won’t be true for all.
Microsoft promises that Skype for Windows Phone 8 will be available on the Windows Phone Store “very soon.”