Microsoft could unveil a stand-alone Skype application for Windows Phone as soon as this month's Mobile Phone Congress, and Skype is expected to be standard on the mobile operating system when the company launches Windows Phone 8.
Skype was acquired by Microsoft in 2011 and a Skype client for Windows Phone had been promised by the end of last year. So far, Microsoft and its Skype unit have been quiet about the integration, but the Verge is reporting that company employees can now download a test version of Skype from the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Meanwhile, an internal Microsoft video that had been intended for executives at Nokia, is fueling more speculation about what features will be added to Windows Phone 8. Known by the codename Apollo, Windows Phone 8 is expected to be released sometime after the release of the Tango operating system, which is also expected at the Mobile Phone Congress.
The video, obtained by the smartphone review site PocketNow, will have better integration with Microsoft desktop clients which should allow developers to reuse much of their code. While Windows Phone has been mostly lauded by crtics, a chief complaint has been a lack of apps.
Windows Phone 8 is also being upgraded to work on a wider range of hardware, and will include support for NFC radios.
Microsoft also said it expects 100,000 apps to be available for Windows Phone by the time Apollo is launched, which is currently rumored to be sometime in the fourth quarter.
"Overall, we're looking at a lot of changes and additions here, all of which seem designed to either bring Windows Phone in line with other platforms, feature-wise, or make it more closely identical to the desktop version of Windows," Evan Blass wrote on PocketNow. "It's probably safe to say that the jump from Mango/Tango to Apollo will be nearly as significant as the transition from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone, and this preview certainly gives us a lot to look forward to."
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