A closer look at Skype for Windows Phone (photos, video)

Only after the ink has dried on Microsoft's acquisition of Skype does the VoIP app come to the mobile platform. I'm sure even deep down, Microsoft can appreciate the irony.

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BARCELONA, Spain--Skype has at long last come to Windows Phone, and here at Mobile World Congress, I got a closer look at the beta version (the "gold" version releases in April.)

The app fits closely with the look and feel I'd envision for the mobile platform, with larger icons, swipe-through screens, and the trademark Windows Phone font. Features-wise, you'll be able to make voice and video calls over IP, so calls are free if you call other Skype users. Alternatively, you can call out to land line and mobile phones if you buy Skype credit.

Video chats occur in full screen, landscape mode only, and onscreen controls let you do things like mute the call and switch from the front-facing to rear-facing camera. You're also able to engage in IM conversation while you're on a call, and check out your contact's profile and other information without losing the connection. Call forwarding and group chat are also supported.

There's a handful of things you can't do with Skype beta that you will be able to do in April, like conference calling and adding new contacts. Even when the full version does emerge, you still won't be able to send SMS messages or transfer files.

About the author

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.

 

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