Microsoft Launches Skype for Windows Phone

Microsoft delivers version 1.0 of Skype for Windows Phone. However, lack of support for background calling leaves some users less enthused.

Microsoft has released version 1.0 of Skype for Windows Phone, the app the company announced in beta at the Mobile World Congress in February.

The new Skype for Windows Phone app is now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace, or users can get it directly from their Windows Phone.

€œWith Skype on your Windows Phone, you can join the thriving community of 200 million people using Skype every month across almost any screen: smartphones & tablets (running Android, iOS and Symbian), computers & laptops (Mac, Windows) and connected TVs,€ said Derek Snyder, head of mobile product marketing at Skype, in an April 22 post on the Skype Big Blog.

The new app is available for use on 4G, 3G and WiFi networks to help users make free voice and video calls, and make affordable calls to landlines and mobiles using Skype Credit, create and hold one-to-one and group chats, and update their profile and account information, among others features, Snyder said

Skype for Windows Phone is also now available in 18 languages: English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, European Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish and traditional Chinese.

Snyder said since releasing the initial beta app in February, Skype has received €œvery positive and helpful feedback€ that has allowed us to improve the app. €œAdditionally, we have added some new features, including video calling in portrait mode and friend management capabilities, including invite, accept invitations, block and unblock contacts,€ he said.

In a separate post on the Windows Phone Blog, Microsoft spokesman Michael Stroh said: €œYou€™ll be happy to see the Skype team has been busy these last few months.€

However, not all users or potential users are happy because the 1.0 release does not allow background calling. This means that that this version of Skype for Windows Phone will only allow users to Skype calls if they have Skype open and are using the app.

A commenter to Stroh€™s post, identified as abm, wrote: €œCan't run in background! Can't receive a call if the app is not running! This is a BIG mistake. This is a deal-breaker.€

Another commenter, identified as dreamerbala, said, €œAww comeon MS.. without the background agent, what good is this app? Tango, which has been on the Marketplace has been doing this since a good while back. Get your act together MS €¦ sort it out€

And yet another commenter, identified as GoodThings2L, said: €œGreat news, and congrats on the release... but it's a bit disappointing that there's no multitasking/background capabilities though. I'm sure a lot of us expect more from the company that makes the OS and the app.€

Meanwhile, Snyder said Skype has tested and certified the following Windows Phones to help ensure the best performance of the app: Nokia's Lumia 710, 800 and 900; HTC's Titan and Radar; and Samsung's Focus S and Focus Flash.