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Ah Skype, the world wide web’s voice-over-internet protocol of choice and probably the most well known brand name to offer VoIP services. When Niklas Zennström originally created the Skype service, I often wondered if he had any idea that it would become such a popular platform around the world and that the might of Microsoft would ultimately come in and acquire the company like it did last year. For those that may have been living under a rather large rock for the last few years, Skype allows registered users to make worldwide voice calls via the internet as well as offering instant messaging-type services and is available on multiple platforms.

With over 680 million registered Skype users, it stands for a reason that those members would benefit from being able to access the Skype services from numerous platforms. For those users out there who prefer choice, Skype is available on Windows-based computers, Macs and a number of mobile platforms and even available to use on LG, Panasonic and Samsung’s high definition television sets. Mobile smartphones are obviously a big business at the minute, with users of iOS, Android and even BlackBerry-based devices being able to download the official Skype application from their respective applications store. Rather ironically, the Microsoft-owned Skype does not have an official Windows Phone application – until now.

Over the last few months, Microsoft have been happy to show demonstrations of the existence of the Windows Phone Skype application, but until now, it has done nothing but teased those dedicated WP7 owners who want nothing more than to enjoy all of the Skype goodness natively from their smartphones. Microsoft have decided that the Skype application is now in an advanced enough stage to be available for public beta testing, meaning an initial beta version has be pushed out today with the final build hopefully coming in April of this year.

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So just what can Windows Phone users expect from the pre-release beta version of Skype? Well, if the Skype Garage Blog is anything to go by then it seems that the beta version of the application will support the basic Skype feature-set like video calling and being able to send and receive instant messages. The Skype team are also trying to make users aware that this is indeed a beta, and as such, is missing a few key implementations as well as being shipped with a few known bugs such as the video calling feature only working in landscape mode and not being able to receive video calls unless the application is in the foreground. In some instances, workarounds are available on the blog page which users can refer to if they are experiencing one of these bugs during use.

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As we would expect, the Skype Windows Phone application heavily features the beautiful Metro-style user interface elements and has been tried and tested, and known to work with the following Windows Phone powered devices:

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

The 0.2.0.0 version on the Windows Phone Marketplace only runs over the English language and is available to download now with all feedback from users being welcomed by the Skype mobile development team.

Download Skype for Windows Phone [Marketplace Link]

Be sure to check out our Windows Phone 7 apps gallery to explore more apps for your Windows Phone 7 smartphone.

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