skype

Oh what a weekend it has been. With the launch of Windows Phone 8 on AT&T and Verizon and T-Mobile expected in the next week, it has been quite exciting but now it is coming to full steam with the release of Skype for Windows Phone 8.

Yes, the app is now slipping out to the Store and we managed to get our hands on it. Heck, we’re even going to give you a video demo of it after the break to see it in action.

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If you've gotten your new Windows Phone 8 device and are looking for the Windows Phone 8 version of the Skype app.... it's not out yet.

With Windows Phone 8, we are expecting some new features to Skype that include the ability to keep you signed-in and reachable even when you've closed out the Skype app. You'll also find that your Skype contacts are automatically added to your Peoples Hub and Live Tile support for unread messages.

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Microsoft seems to be taking its Skype acquisition and integrating it further into the arsenal of products and services the company offers - namely Messenger (or Windows Live Messenger). An article has been published on the Skype blog detailing what's on the horizon for Messenger users who now have the opportunity to connect to their Microsoft Account within the Skype client.

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If you are a Skype user, you'll like some of the new features Windows Phone 8 brings to the table.

First, and maybe the most important improvement, is that Skype can keep you signed-in and reachable even when you've closed out the Skype app. Skype stays asleep in the background until an incoming call or message is received. Not only can you receive calls just like you would through your wireless carrier but staying dormant, you save battery life.

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This week is going to be big news for Windows 8, today Skype have released a post about the coming metro style Windows 8 app.

Set to release at the same time as Windows 8 on the 26th the app looks set to seamlessly integrate with the OS in the People hub and provide “always on” connectivity. On top of that, this looks like one of the prettiest Windows 8 apps we have seen, showing that the metro style when done right is simply gorgeous.

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A reimagined Skype client is on the way

Update: As we suspected this video was is no way sanctioned to be released publicly and as such, a copyright claim by AOL/Engadget has had it removed. Translation: this was suppose to be under wraps but was made public on accident.

Update 2: We found a second source of the video, catch it while you can

Skype for Windows Phone 8 has been demoed by Derrick Snyder, now head of mobile marketing at Skype. In the video, Snyder runs viewers through what we can all expect from the new client. Now, before we crack into what's shown in the video, it's worth noting that this is a brand new application for Windows Phone, though many of the new features have been covered before.

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Pinnable CC's and new notifications

Many of the new features of Windows Phone 8 are already known due to the leaked SDK over the summer but exactly how some of it will look is still a bit unclear.

Take for example the NFC Wallet app. It’s a safe assumption that it will allow many different options—storage of coupons, deal cards, frequent flier pass and of course your credit cards. It’s also not too wild of a guess that Microsoft will allow you to pin those to your Start screen for quick and easy access.

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We last saw Skype for Windows Phone get an update back in June so it's nice to see another one being pushed to our devices this week. Such is the case with version 1.3 which has just landed in the Marketplace.

That’s the good news. The bad news is if you are looking for any new features, push notifications, less memory (512MB) to run it for Tango phones, you’ll be slightly disappointed. The official changelog for Skype v1.3 is simply “bug fixes” which is not that exciting.

Still, we suppose fixing bugs in the app is something positive as it means the app and service will hopefully work better (for those of you who have had issues in the past). If any of you notice anything mentionable in the app, hit us up in comments.

Pick up v1.3 of Skype for Windows Phone here in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Via: WindowsPhoneApps.es (QR code after the break)

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A few days ago, questions were raised over Skype's security in that Microsoft is reconfiguring the Skype network to allow Law Enforcement Agencies can have access to intercept calls. Mark Gillett, Skype's Chief Development and Operations Officer, responded to these concerns today.

With regards to the claims Skype has made changes in its architecture to provide Law Enforcement Agencies have greater access to Skype communications, Gillett says that this is false:

"The move was made in order to improve the Skype experience, primarily to improve the reliability of the platform and to increase the speed with which we can react to problems. The move also provides us with the ability to quickly introduce cool new features that allow for a fuller, richer communications experience in the future."

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Our audience is smart enough to know that no electronic system of communication is impervious to eavesdropping and there’s very little out there that’s near 100% secure. So it should come as no surprise that Skype is getting some publicity of its internal network restructuring that started occurring once Microsoft acquired the company last year.

The charge: Microsoft is reconfiguring the Skype network so that it Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) can have access to intercept calls over the network to aid in investigations.

The reality is of course convoluted with no concrete evidence but it’s worth mentioning what exactly is going on here. So head past the break to get the scoop.

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A few days ago a fairly major bug has been found in the latest Skype update—the client app on your computer can crash upon sending an IM and what’s more, it may even send the IM to the wrong contact (Skype tries to re-send it but it may have logged you in under a secondary account, should you have one). From Skype:

“Skype client crashes during a Skype IM session, which may in some cases result in the last IM entered or sent prior to the crash being delivered to a different IM contact after the Skype client is rebooted or logged in as a new user.”

Personally, we haven’t seen this bug but it has made some headlines as it’s a quite major and can obviously have some dire privacy issues. The Skype team is on it getting ready to roll out a hotfix very soon.

The odd part is Skype is reporting that this bug is also found on Windows Phone (in addition to Windows, Mac and Linux). We haven’t had any reports of users complaining of crashing—our bet is most of you use Skype for the VOIP part and not so much the IM half which may be biasing feedback.

Regardless, if we see an update to the Skype client for Windows Phone in the next few days, you can be certain it is tied to this situation and there probably won’t be any new features.

Source: Skype; Thanks, Tagliaerbe, for the tip

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It's pretty but do you use it?

We’re not going to deny that in today’s smartphone world, if you’re going to sell a high-end Windows Phone (or even mid-range) a front-facing camera is a must. Presumably used for face-to-face video call, the technology has been around for years but is only becoming mainstream since 2011.

In Windows Phone 8, users will have Skype and other VOIP options built seamlessly into the OS, offering a fluid experience akin to making “regular” phone calls. And with 4G LTE finally gaining ground nationally here in the US, data bandwidth seems more than adequate for video conferencing.

While all of that sounds good the question for us to you who currently have a front-facing camera is do you use it?

It seems silly to ask but we never use ours except for a few times to test Tango Video or Skype. Other than that we can’t be bothered with the technology. But we’ve often seen those with children using FaceTime on the iPhone to keep in touch, so perhaps we’re in the minority here. The view seems to be that everyone wants a front-facing camera and it's a must-have feature but few of us are actually using it. Are we wrong?

So go forth people, be honest and take our poll. If you do use it, tell us in comments how often. If you don't, let us know why you don't. Too awkward, not enough data speed? Will widespread adoption of Windows Phone 8 and Skype across Microsoft change things?

 

Do you use your front facing camera on your Windows Phone?
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Windows Phone is very careful with how much power it uses. Normal behaviour for the OS is that whilst running on battery it will drop the Wi-Fi connection after a short period in order to conserve as much juice as possible. We have seen reports that point the finger at some apps which are seemingly overriding normal power saving behaviour. Is this a feature or a bug, I decided to do some tests.

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Windows Phone 7.8 will share the same Start screen as Windows Phone 8 but little else

Although Windows Phone 7.8 is months from release, speculation as to what the update may or may not contain has been a hot topic for current Windows Phone users (see our editorial on the subject here).

The site WP7Forum.ru have a mixed reputation when coming to leaks and rumors, so like anything we should take this latest release with a grain of salt.

The data itself contains the supposed feature set of Windows Phone 7.8 and it is what many of us have come to expect—mostly the same with a few new apps. For instance, Skype is still “only an app” so no new system wide integration should be expected. That’s a technical issue and we’re 99% sure the new NT kernel is needed for those advanced VOIP features to keep it “on” all the time without killing your battery.

For the browser, IE9 will remain on Windows Phone 7.8 while WP8 of course gets the shiny new IE10.  Everything else, as far as we can tell, stays the same for Windows Phone 7.8 users if this list is to be believed. Interestingly, users can expect DataSmart to come to Windows Phone 7.8 as an app. DataSmart is Microsoft's answer for keeping track of your data so as to not go over your allocated plan.

Rumored feature set of Windows Phone 7.8 vs Windows Phone 8

Of curious note, Bing Audio is evidently getting TV support on Windows Phone 8. What does that mean? It sounds a lot like Microsoft has a native solution to IntoNow.

The service IntoNow is a lot like Shazam or SoundHound, it takes an audio sample and IDs the content but instead of music, IntoNow works for TV shows. It then allows you to share that info via social networks so the world knows exactly what you're watching. So far, we have nothing similar on Windows Phone as IntoNow is a small startup and WP is not on their radar. If this info is accurate, it looks like Microsoft may have built this into Windows Phone directly. That’s pretty great of consumers who don’t want to sign up for “yet another service”.

Even though this info may be accurate, due to its source we’ll still treat it as rumor until Microsoft tells us otherwise.

Update: See our in-depth follow up article to the Bing Audio + TV feature

Source: WP7Forum.ru; via WMPU

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Yesterday's Windows Phone Summit gave us a nice serving of what Windows Phone 8 brings to the table. Joe Belfiore discussed platform changes that will expand the capabilities of our Windows Phones. We also caught a glimpse of Microsoft's Wallet app, a handful of new Nokia apps, and learned of Zynga's new interest in the platform. And then there's the new Start Screen.

Winsupersite posted a nice collection of some of the features we didn't see. Here's a few items that stood out.

  • Windows Phones will support varying screen resolutions which in turn will give consumers more choices to find which Windows Phone fits their needs and budget the best. We're already seeing this with the leaked HTC Windows Phone 8 specs.
  • Data Smart is a feature that is based on the metered broadband connection capabilities in Windows Phone 8. Data Smart will help users get the most out of their data plans by handing off data loads to Wifi whenever possible and by using a cloud based proxy service that limits the amount of data used by IE10 and other apps. The cloud based proxy service compresses web traffic and is reported to save about 30% in bandwith usage.
  • The Games Hub will become the Xbox Live Games app and will be modeled after the same app in Windows 8.
  • We'll also see SkyDrive support music and video storage that can be accessed directly from the Xbox Music and Video apps.
  • The camera app is in store for some under the hood improvements through a Lens app. The Lens app will let third party apps plug into the camera experience by mapping the camera button to an app other than the native camera app.
  • Skype will be more integrated with a Skype option that will be included in your contacts phone numbers and messaging links for those that use Skype. Skype will remain a stand-alone app that can be removed not only by the user but also the carrier or manufacturer. This one sounds like it is still a work deeply in progress.
  • Windows Phone 8 will not only appeal to to the general public but also the business market. Windows Phone 8 will provide always on device encryption, secure boot, Office 2013 based Office apps, device manageability capabilities and side loading of line of business apps.

We are sure that in the months leading up to the launch of Windows Phone 8 will come to light. As it stands now, the improvements and platform changes the Microsoft has shared with us it's hard to see Windows Phone 8 as anything but impressive.

Source: winsupersite

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Skype version 1.2 update now live in the Marketplace

The version 1.2 update for Skype has been released from certification and is now available over at the Windows Phone Marketplace.  Just to recap, the update fixes a handful of issues with the previous version and adds the following improvements.

  • All phonebook contacts with at least one number are shown in Skype contact list.
  • Ability to edit phone number in dial-pad before calling.

Fixes contained in the update cover issues involving calendar notifications ending Skype calls and instant messaging crashing the app. There still remains issues such as the app requiring a minimum of 512mb of memory on your Windows Phone, no Bluetooth support for audio or video calls, and answering an incoming call will end your Skype call.

If haven't seen the update pushed out to your Windows Phone, you should see the notification out shortly. If you haven't tried Skype for Windows Phone, you can find the free app  here at the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Thanks, jon b and dario, for the tip!

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Microsoft today announced the expansion of voice over telephony (VOIP) for Windows Phone 8, enabling the integration of Skype into the phone OS in addition to any other 3rd party VOIP applications.

Come this fall users will be able to have Skype as well as any 3rd party VOIP clients fully integrated into the Windows Phone dialer and contacts, giving a near seamless user experience. Background tasks and notifications will be handled by the OS allowing VOIP apps to manage calls across cellular and data connections. In addition, Bluetooth connectivity will also "just work" with Skype and other VOIP apps.

Developers will appreciate the array of new APIs that allow them to “plug in” to the Windows Phone 8 VOIP system while maintaining application and system stability.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Windows Phone 7 app update and should alleviate current user cmplaints about Skype's limitations on the platform, which we've detailed in the past.

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