Microsoft announces Skype app for Windows Phone 8 with new UI, deep People Hub integration (video)

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Last week, if you recall, Microsoft announced Skype for Windows 8, a touch-friendly app that appeared in the Windows Store the same day Win 8 went on sale. Now, with Windows Phone 8 getting its big reveal, the company is following up with a WP8 version, which Microsoft says is coming soon. Like the new Windows 8 app, it runs in the background, delivering push notifications even when you're looking at something else. In particular, now that Windows Phone allows for three different tile sizes, you can view the Skype tile in small, medium or large formats, with the largest displaying your latest message. (All tile sizes show an unread message count.)

There are other similarities to the Win 8 app, too, despite the fact that these phones have smaller screens. There's a favorites list, for one, along with a shortcut that makes it easy to toggle between open IM conversations. As on Windows 8, the app is deeply integrated with the People Hub, so that Skype handles appear on contact cards and incoming Skype calls look the same as any other. On the messaging side, there's an impressively large collection of emoticons (TMI-face, anybody?). It's also possible to start group chats, as well as change the conversation topic. So far, it's unclear when, exactly, the app will be available for download, but in the meantime we've got a short video demo waiting for you after the break.

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