Ever since the first news of Microsoft wanting to buy up Skype last year, we've been waiting patiently for an app to be released. It was promised to come in the fall at MIX '11, later said to be released before the end of the year, and only in February did we finally see a beta for Skype released
. Good news; the app is now live at 1.0!
First off, the good news. The app has been polished up considerably since the beta (which is to be expected, of course) and now has the ability to make calls to landlines and to search for and add contacts. The bad news is...well, it's still an app. The heavy optimization designed to keep the OS running smooth and battery life solid isn't great for a service like Skype, which works best running as traditional background task, rather than the suspension which Windows Phone uses. This means that you can't run it in the background to receive calls, it needs to be open, which limits the utility of using it to replace your normal phone functionality. It's technically possible to work around this, but doing so can degrade the general experience of the phone so it's no surprise it hasn't been done here. The expected full integration of Skype into Windows Phone should allow for features like this without making an impact on performance and still staying within the rules of Metro design (which is about a lot more than just typography and minimalism). If you're ready to go give Skype a shot and see what it can do for you, it's available now