We knew a Metro-fied version of Skype was on its way to Windows 8, but now we know exactly when it will become available—and what it's going to look like. Microsoft's Skype team announced yesterday that Skype will debut on the Windows Store this Friday, the same day Windows 8 and Windows RT hit retail availability. Microsoft also showed off a few screenshots and described the functionality we can expect from the app.
Those who have been using Windows 8 already might have noticed an unusable feature in the People app. Clicking a contact shows the various ways one might get in touch with that person, including the option to call them. But clicking "call" informs the user that no apps are capable of performing the task, while the option to "Look for an app in the Store" will turn up no applications supporting the calling feature.
The placeholder, not surprisingly, was for Skype, which will be integrated into the People application. And while Skype on Windows Phone is incapable of running in the background, Skype for Windows 8 will face no such limitation.
"On Windows 8, you can be always available and reachable whether you are using a desktop, laptop, tablet, or convertible PC with Skype running seamlessly in the background without draining your battery," Microsoft said. "You'll be able to receive voice and video calls and chats even if you've navigated away to another app or to the desktop." (The forthcoming Windows Phone 8 includes a VoIP API allowing VoIP apps to run in the background, so this limitation on Skype is likely to be lifted on the phone side as well.)