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Skype Takes a Small Step Forward on Windows Phone

The beta version is available via the Windows Phone Marketplace and supports Skype to Skype audio calling, Skype to Skype video calling, landline and mobile calling, instant messaging, profile and account views, profile pictures, status messages -- all in a Metro UI. There are plenty of shortcomings in this version, including the requirement that the software needs to run in the foreground, no call-in-progress indicator, no conference calls, a crash if a call is ended before the other party ends a call, no contact blocking and removal, and video calling that only works in landscape mode are only the major issues.

It's just a small step to provide the IM software for Microsoft's phones, but the initial feedback has been positive. “At least in its initial guise, Skype for Windows Phone offers a fairly typical Skype experience on smartphones running as a standalone application," said Tony Cripps, principal analyst at market research firm Ovum. "We expect this to change in future iterations with Skype becoming a more pervasive part of the Windows Phone software platform and experience, with its functionality integrated tightly with applications and services across the phone increasing its utility."

Cripps added that Skype could turn into a "social glue" for Microsoft that will drive usage of the service and furthering sales of Skype-enabled Microsoft products considerably in future.

Skype said that the beta was tested on the phone models Nokia Lumia 710 and Lumia 800, HTC Titan and Radar, as well as Samsung Focus S and Focus Flash.