Skype for Windows Phone 8 updated with People Hub integration and HD Video support

Skype for Windows Phone 8 has been updated today bringing back the People Hub integration that was drop out of the app in the latest update and new features like HD Video chat with the back facing and front facing camera, portrait / landscape video chat support and finally the ability to sign in/out to switch Skype accounts on the fly (yes this was impossible before…).

What’s new?
- Face-to-face video calls look better than ever with high definition video support.
- Show your smile or just what’s around you – with front and rear camera support.
- Video calls in portrait or landscape, whichever feels best.

Features:
- Call friends and family with free Skype to Skype voice calls over 3G* or WiFi.
- Make free video calls to anyone else on Skype as well as low cost calls to mobiles and landline around the world.
- Send instant messages to friends on Skype, as well as friends on Messenger if you sign in with your Microsoft account.
- Stay in touch even when the app is closed, with call and message notifications.
- See all your Skype contacts in the People Hub**.

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Windows Phone 8 launches with new features, Skype and new apps

Most of you have probably already seen the full Windows Phone 8 event that was live streamed earlier today so I won’t write an essay about everything that was shown. Instead let’s do a quick recap on what was new or simply not yet officially unveiled since Windows Phone 8′s initial announcement a few months ago.

First of all Microsoft announced the newest version of Skype for Windows Phone 8. This new version of the app will fully integrate into the OS and allow seamless VOIP calling through the phone dialer and more features like background notifications and lock-screen integration. What’s new here (for Windows Phone) is that the Skype service will constantly be running in the background even if the app wasn’t triggered by the user. this means that calls or other notifications like messages will arrive as if they were regular phone calls or SMS. Most of the functionality of the UI and People/contact integration of the WP8 app are similar to the windows 8 version that was released just 2 days ago. Checkout the video below for a quick demo:

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Windows Phone 8 finally hits RTM

After a slight delay Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 has finally hit RTM status yesterday has you can see in the picture posted above showing Microsoft VP Terry Myerson signing on the big WP8 RTM billboard alongside other developers. Windows Phone 7 originally passed RTM on September 1st 2010 with devices hitting retail in November, while Mango hit RTM on July 27th 2011 with device shipping in October. If past history is any indication it’s obviously going to be a little be tricky for the OEMs and carriers to get the first batch of devices on the market before November at the earliest. The latest whisper on the streets are still pointing to an early November launch for the Nokia Lumia 920 though…

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Windows Phone 8 launching October 29th

Nothing is official yet but according to Mary Joe Foley’s own sources Microsoft is set to commercially launch Windows Phone 8 on October 29th just three days after Windows 8. Technically we may have to wait a few more days after the launch event until we start to see the first Windows Phone 8 devices hit retail and carrier stores around the world. Remember that MJ’s sources are often right so October 29th may very well be the real deal.

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New Windows Phone 8 Features detailed

I just took a quick tour of the Windows Phone 8 emulator bundled in the Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview SDK that leaked just a few hours ago and decided to take some screenshot to show you some of the new UI tweaks and Features implemented in Apollo. Beware that there’s a lot of images after the break and not a whole lot of text (just a few lines to describe what’s on the screen). So just hit the break to see what Microsoft has been cooking for this fall release and some nice features that have been long overdue.

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Windows Phone 8 Application platform detailed

The relatively big news today is the sudden appearance of the soon to be released Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview SDK which has leaked a few hours ago via Microsoft’s own password protected servers. Instead of making tons of posts detailing every single feature of the OS simply to generate hits I’m going to provide you with the detailed overview of the Windows Phone 8 application platform which I’m going to copy and paste (from the SDK) below after the break for those of you who aren’t able to get their hands of the Docs or the full SDK package. I’m also currently installing the full 1.3Gb Binaries on by Windows 8 desktop (important note: The WP8 Preview SDK is only compatible with the Windows 8 X64 Release Preview) and will make another post later on detailing the emulator. UPDATE: My WP8 Emulator overview is here.

The following document will go into details comparing Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT (hint: there are some important differences), The Direct3D feature set supported by the OS, the built-in Native Nokia Maps implementation, Camera features, NFC features Native code and XAML support. So just head over to the break to check it all out:

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Nokia Drive to be available on all Windows Phone 8 phones. No longer exclusive to Nokia’s

Here’s a surprising piece of news that flew under my radar yesterday: Nokia Drive will no longer be exclusive to Nokia Lumia handsets on Windows Phone 8 and be made available to all other platform partners (OEMs) which means that HTC, Samsung and Huawei handsets will feature it too. Some may see this news as one less reason to get a Nokia Lumia handset but if you look at the big picture here the point of this move is to push the whole ecosystem further as it was announced back when the Microsoft Nokia deal was signed. Remember that every Android smartphone has turn-by-turn driving navigation for free and with WP8 Microsoft will have a similar offering. Windows Phone 8 will also integrate Nokia Maps as the native mapping service in Windows Phone 8.

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Windows Phone 8 unveiled: Features and specifications

Microsoft just took the wraps off Windows Phone 8 today during the Windows Phone Summit in San Fransisco. As you probably be know by now current Windows Phone 7.X handset won’t be upgradable to WP8 but will instead receive Windows Phone 7.8 and you will understand why in a shot while after getting a small glimpse at what Apollo will bring to the table later this fall.

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Windows Phone 8 to launch this fall with only four OEMs: Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Huawei all powered by Qualcomm

What I have been predicting for more than a year has finally been confirmed today when Microsoft announced that all the future Windows Phone 8 handsets launching this fall will be powered by Qualcomm‘s SnapDragon S4 Plus / MSM8930 or MSM8960 SoC with the Adreno 225 or Adreno 305 GPU, which seems to once again be the only certified chipset partner for the platform. What is more surprising though is that only four OEMs are on board this time around: Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Huawei. The rest are ..well..nowhere to been seen and frankly we shouldn’t care given the total lack of creativity and effort that was demonstrated in the past. For more Windows Phone features info hit the link after the break.

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No Windows Phone 8 upgrade to current Windows Phone 7 handsets: Windows Phone 7.8 unveiled

Microsoft has unfortunately just announced that none of the Windows Phone 7.X handset currently available will be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8. Nope, never, nada, zip… Instead Microsoft is announcing Windows Phone 7.8 which will be a free update that will be pushed ALL Windows Phone handsets bypassing carriers (and downloadable via WiFi) that will will simply add the new Windows Phone 8 start screen to all “legacy” WP7 handsets. Other WP8 features which are not hardware dependent may or may not be part of WP7.8 (Nothing has been officially announced yet). That’s it folks there’s nothing else to say here. That shiny Nokia Lumia 900 you got last week will be stuck forever with the Windows CE based WP7.X platform. Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts (or anger..).

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Windows Phone 8 screenshots leaked

They are indeed really small and blurry but do look like the real deal. A handful of Windows Phone 8 screenshots have apparently leaked earlier today ahead of the June 20th unveiling. So let’s take a closer look at what we’ve got here.

The first screenshot you see above is the DataSmart functionality which was discuss by Joe Belfiore in an internal Nokia video a few months ago that Pocketnow had in its possession. This will allow user to track their cellular/Wifi data usage per app and per service.

This screenshot shows the video call integration in the Windows Phone 8 without the need of any thrid party application like Tango for example. Skype and the soon to be launched RCS-e standard:
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Skype for Windows Phone is out of beta and publicly available now

Skype for Windows Phone 7 is finally out of beta and publicly available in the Marketplace for everybody to download. This new V1.0 version now includes the ability to search and add contacts, call landlines, ,video calling in portrait mode, friend management capabilities including invite, accept invitations, block, unblock contacts and several other improvements on top of what was already possible in the beta. Only major downside is the fact that application still doesn’t support background notifications so user simply can’t receive a call unless the application is open (unlike all the other Skype version on other platforms or even Tango on Windows Phone) but Skype as already announced that “This is the first of many releases to come for Windows Phone, so stay tuned for even more capabilities in the future“. You can download the Skype app directly from the marketplace here or by simply scanning the tags after the break:

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Skype Beta app for Windows Phone 7 launched: Get it now!

It is finally here folks! Skype for Windows Phone 7 has now reached the marketplace in its beta form and can be downloaded for free as I’m typing this. The beta version will require that you have a handset running Windows Phone 7.5 Mango or up but has officially been certified to be compatible with the following handsets:

• Nokia Lumia 710
• Nokia Lumia 800
• HTC Titan
• HTC Radar
• Samsung Focus S
• Samsung Focus Flash

I’v just did a quick test and video chat also works on devices without a front facing camera (it uses the main camera on the back instead). Check it out in action in the video after the break:

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Skype for Windows Phone 7 is still coming soon

You got to love delays. Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do about them especially when the company decides to stay silent about a product. As you all already know, Skype for Windows Phone was announced back in April of last year and was supposedly set to launch alongside Mango last fall. Nothing happened, Nokia’s then flagship product, the Lumia 800 didn’t even feature a front facing camera so Microsoft may have decided to act as nothing was missing. That’s until this week CES where Skype’s VP of Products Rick Osterloh just let a “coming soon” slip in a interview with….Microsoft. Video after the break:

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Spotify for Windows Phone 7 coming today

According to the folks who are attending the Mango launch event in today, the long awaited Spotify application for Windows Phone 7 application is ready to hit the marketplace today. They’ve also shot a short hands-on video of it in action:

UPDATE: Spotify is now available here!
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Skype for Windows Phone 7 still scheduled to be released this year

It’s been a while since we heard anything about the Windows Phone 7 version of Skype which was announced back in April during the MIX11 developer event. Now that the first Windows Phone 7.5 Mango handsets equipped with front facing camera are starting to hit the shelves many users are eagerly waiting for the application to be released. Unfortunately front facing camera support has not been confirmed yet but it’s same to assume that it will be present from the get go but, obviously, only available on compatible devices.

Microsoft, who was present and at an HTC Ultimate event has confirmed that the Skype application is still on schedule to launch this year but apparently didn’t give any more info. Now that Skype is part of Microsoft it should only be logical to see it soon rather than later and also hopefully fully integrated in a future version of the OS similar to the current Twitter and Facebook integration.

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Front facing camera support confirmed in Windows Phone Mango. Lync Mobile coming in Q4

We already knew that Mango had support for front facing cameras. Well, a Microsoft employe just confirmed that during his TechED session in New Zealand. As you will see in the video below there’s no mention of any Skype front facing camera support at all (it will obviously came at one point in time though) so once again one has to wonder why other blogs are running stories about “Front Facing camera support confirmed for Skype on Windows Phone7″ or that Skype will be integrated in Mango. Anyway, Skype will come to Windows Phone 7 this fall in the form of a third-party application but will surely be integrated in the OS later on (in Apollo I guess). Video after the break:

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Skype working on Video chat for Windows Phone 7


Skype which is now soon going to be the Microsoft Skype Division is looking for a Software Engineer to help optimize the Skype Video Engine solution for Microsoft Windows and Windows Phone platforms. The official Skype application for Windows Phone 7 was announced back in April and is set to be released this fall alongside Mango but we have yet to know if it will support video chat in its first release. The only Windows Phone Mango device that is known to have a front facing camera is the Samsung SGH-i937 that was briefly unveiled at WPC11 last month but it’s now safe to assume that other OEMs will probably release FF enabled device too.

As an Engineer in the Microsoft Platforms team, you are responsible for building and optimizing the Skype Video Engine solution for Microsoft Windows and Windows Phone platforms. You will be working with a small team of highly skilled development and testing professionals to deliver a new release of the Video Engine every 2 months. We are looking for a star quality C++ developer to be based in Skype Stockholm or Tallinn office, but will involve travel to other Skype offices in Europe and the U.S.

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IM+ messenger application for Windows Phone 7 finally submitted to the Marketplace

The famous Instant Messenger client, IM+ is finally headed to Windows Phone 7 according to the developer’s latest tweet indicating that the application has been submitted to the Marketplace for review. IM+ Web Messenger allows user to log in and chat with contacts from Windows Live Messenger, Facebook Chat, Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, MySpace, ICQ, Google Talk and Jabber. It will be interesting to see how the application will effectively work given that there no TCP/IP support in the current pre-Mango version of Windows Phone 7. Will it use some kind of HTTP routing/tunneling or maybe use the Webbrowser control and thus go through web version of the service.

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