Skype is quickly turning into the next major brand from Microsoft. Much like what the company did with the Xbox brand, Microsoft is making Skype the go to app for all of its online messenger and calling services. Case in point, Skype is an essential app in Windows 8, and it's soon to be of the same importance to Windows Phone 8.
Skype's Head of Mobile Product Marketing, Derek Snyder, announced this morning that the Skype Preview is now available for Windows Phone 8. The preview contains all the Skype basics that users have come to expect, but in a "new, modern design." It also includes integration with Windows Phone 8's People Hub and Windows Live Messenger.
At its Windows Phone 8 event, Microsoft said the new version of Skype would be able to run in the background without taking up any resources. Snyder says that the preview will accomodate some of this with the app fielding calls and messages even when the app is closed.
Snyder also claims that Skype for Windows Phone 8 will have some exclusive features never before seen on smartphones. These include:
In all reality, it's more like the functionality above is only possible on Windows Phone 8 at the moment thanks to the features that set the mobile OS apart from iOS and Android. After it's done, maybe the team can start to rethink the mobile Skype experience for iOS and Android users who have been using what is essentially a smaller form of the old Skype app for desktop.
If you want to try out the Skype Preview for Window Phone 8, you can grab it right now. The app will be updated with the full version once it becomes available.