Skype for Windows Phone 8 out now, free and easy

Skype is available now on Windows Phone 8, bringing to mobiles the same clean interface as its desktop brother. We test it out.

Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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Andrew Lanxon
2 min read

Prepare your best gormless phone face and rehearse those bad accents -- Skype is finally available on the Windows Phone 8 app store.

Out now and free to download, the new version shares many characteristics with its Windows 8 desktop counterpart. The clean, minimal design of Windows 8 apps is in full effect, with the People, Favourites and Recent sections arranged in columns for you to swipe through.

When you're in a call, you'll see your conversation partner full-screen with your own smiling mug in the bottom corner. Swipe to the left and you'll be able to send them instant messages. Any messages sent to you pop up in a lovely blue circle. Visually, it's very appealing and it's simple to get to grips with.

Like the Windows 8 desktop version, once you've set up your account you'll be able to see which of your friends have Skype in the People hub. You're then able to choose to make a Skype call -- or a standard call, send a text, email or Facebook message -- from the one place. It saves you precious seconds not having to find that same contact in the Skype app itself. Spend that saved time on doing your hair before your call.

New Skype also brings in the ability to run in the background, even when the app is closed. It means you're always able to receive calls and messages, but as the app is effectively closed, it isn't hogging your processing power or draining your battery.

This new version of Skype is specifically for those of you who've already taken the plunge into Windows Phone 8 on mobiles such as the Nokia Lumia 920 or HTC 8X. If you're running older Windows Phone 7 on the Lumia 800, there's already an older version in the store for you. Skype calls can be made to users on any platform, be it Windows Phone, Android, iOS or desktop.

If you've already got the excellent Lumia 920 and can't wait to show your friends what your cats are up to right now, grab the app from the Marketplace and let me know what you think in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.