Microsoft has announced the first video-calling application for its Windows Phone platform that utilises technology it acquired in its $8.5bn purchase of Skype last year, as the firm looks to compete with Apple's FaceTime service.
Announced during Mobile World Congress, the service is currently being offered in beta mode, and will allow users to carry out video-calls on 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi connections, a wider connectivity offering than Apple's service which is Wi-Fi-only.
In a video demonstration, the firms showed how users can also send and receive chat messages during calls and host multiple users within any video calls.
Announcing the beta trial, vice president of product at Skype, Rick Osterloh, said the new products would provide a wide range of video-calling options and promised further developments would be forthcoming.
"This is only the beginning for Skype for Windows Phone, it's just going to get better and better. We see incredible potential to include Skype capabilities in Windows Phone in order to enable a great experience for you," he said in a blog post.
Osterloh added that the full version of the application should be available from April, while Windows Phone users can try the beta by following this link from their smartphones.
Tony Cripps, principal analyst at Ovum, said the application, while fairly basic in its initial guise, was a key part of Microsoft's mobile strategy and would undergo significant changes in the future.
"This is an important step in Microsoft's strategy to make Skype a ubiquitous part of its product portfolio, integrated wherever it makes sense to do so," he said.
"A pervasive Skype has much greater potential to disrupt existing models of communication than one that is dependent on users proactively choosing to install it."
Microsoft will be hoping the inclusion of applications such as Skype to its Windows Phone platform helps increase interest in its operating system as it aims to catch-up in the smartphone market.
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