Microsoft has released an update for Skype for Windows Phone preview with a bunch of new features as well as reintroducing the integration with People Hub. The newest update bumps the app to version and works with Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8.

The People Hub integration was supposed to be a great feature for Windows Phone devices that would allow users to initiate Skype calls from outside the app. Following some device stability issues, Microsoft disabled the app’s integration with the People Hub in an update earlier this year. “We are working with the Windows Phone team to resolve the issue and to enable the integration again in a future release,” the company had said in a blog post. .   

People Hub integration is back on!

People Hub integration is back on!

Following the disabling of the People Hub feature with Skype, while users were unable to initiate calls, they were still able to receive them even as the app ran in the background. Back then, Skype had said that it was working on a fix for the problem and more than three months later, here it is.

But here’s the catch. People Hub integration with Skype will only work if handsets are updated with the “Portico” update that will allow users to make calls and send instant messages straight from the contacts storage of the phone. A staff moderator with the username “dereklakin” mentioned the importance of Portico for People Hub integration in the Skype Update on the company’s community page.

The update also includes HD video capabilities with support for both the front and rear cameras. Skype says this is its first app to make use of the hardware acceleration capabilities of Windows Phone 8 to provide crisp and clear HD video calls. “.We have significantly improved video calling quality for all users, offering VGA video on lower end handsets and 720P HD on higher-end devices including the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X and Samsung Ativ S,”  the company wrote in its blog.

The app determines the best quality available based on the speed of your connection. Additionally, Skype has added landscape mode for calls, and the ability to switch between front and back cameras for you to chat in whatever way you find comfortable.

In November last year, Microsoft released a Skype app for Windows Phone 8 for the Nokia Lumia 920, Lumia 820, HTC 8X and 8S smartphones.

The app was and still is labelled as a preview release, as opposed to a final version. The WP8 Skype app offered additional features over the original WP7.5 version, besides greater connectivity with the rest of the phone. The biggest new feature of the app is the ability to be left running in the background. Skype contacts could also be seen in the People Hub, thus letting you start new conversations with just a tap, when it originally released.

Grab Skype for your Windows Phone here.

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