We don’t know when it happened. Maybe it was the day Microsoft introduced Kinect Video Chat back in the fall of 2010. Maybe it was the day Apple introduced their upgraded iPhone with a front-facing camera and Face Time. It could have even been that day we first started dreaming about practical uses for being able to get live video while calling someone at the World’s Fair a few decades ago. Whenever that magic moment occurred isn’t important. What is important is suddenly video calling from your mobile platform of choice seems to be a very important check mark these days. People want to be able to able to audio and video call their friends with compatible devices and they won’t settle for anything that doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. Into this demanding world enters Skype.
The Features You Want
Functionally you’ll find nearly every function you would expect out of a communications application mobile or otherwise. Users can browse friend’s profile, and initiate an instant message conversation, a call, or a video call from each profile. While you can add Skype contacts or phone numbers directly from the application, personal profile editing is completely missing from this first version and, no including a link that allows you to edit profile information inside of Internet Explorer does not count. We found video calling using the front facing camera on my HTC TITAN to be smooth for both me and the person receiving video. Audio calls and instant messaging were equally smooth operations.
The Features You’ll want
Scoring cool points for basic functionality is all well and good, but if you had any doubt that Skype on Windows Phone was a work in progress let me take care of that right now. Unless you are going to keep this application open until ponies run free across the planes this app won’t be allowing you to receive calls or even a notification of a call if the application isn’t open. There’s also no integration with Windows Phone’s People Hub so you’ll need to have your contact’s Skype information already on the service instead of in your contact’s details. Clearly Microsoft is going to be making a long haul of this application. Skype is too important to Microsoft’s consumer business to let these kinds of issues linger for too long. Yeah, both of these issues are addressed in Skype on iPhone and Skype on Windows Phone, but we’re willing to grant them the time they’ll need to create a necessary change of their infrastructure.
For what it’s worth we found Skype on Windows Phone 1.0 to be a solid voice and video calling application. Instant Messaging, video calling, and audio calling work as you’d expect. Sure you won’t be receiving any calls outside of the application but we’re more inclined to believe that’s a problem with the Windows Phone operating system more than it is the app itself.