At a recent design day event in Norway, Windows Phone design studio general manager Albert Shum and Todd Simmons, creative director at Wolff Olins, held a talk about “re-imagining” Microsoft. After switching its Windows, Office, and Microsoft brand logos last year, it appears the company has some additional plans for Bing, Skype, Yammer, and Xbox. Simmons revealed a concept video from two years ago of how Microsoft looked to rebrand its key products. Part of the video includes a new Bing logo that looks very similar to a paper airplane.
At first it seems the clip is simply an old concept, like similar ones Microsoft has experimented with previously, but later in the presentation Simmons reveals design work for the same Bing logo and…
Microsoft has revealed a new step in its plans for Skype today. At a Lync Conference keynote, Skype president Tony Bates announced that the software giant will link together Skype and Lync, Microsoft’s business instant messaging service. The connectivity will debut in June, allowing businesses to call and instant message Skype users using the Lync service. Video connectivity will be launched at a later date.
Lync mobile clients will also debut ahead of the integration. Microsoft says a Windows Phone 8 and iOS version will be made available in early March, with an Android version due around a month later. VoIP and video over IP will be available in app of the mobile apps, and iPad users will be able to view shared desktop and app content…
Skype for Android just got a serious update, for the first time giving Microsoft’s VOIP app a true tablet interface. On top of the UI changes, version 3.0 also lets you log in and merge with your Microsoft account, and adds support for Skype’s SILK wideband audio codec. The company says it gives you the optimal voice quality that your connection can sustain. It’s too bad a separate portrait layout isn’t part of the package (the app stays locked in landscape), but we’re just glad to see such a popular application being rescued from stretched-out phone app status.
Russian hackers have discovered a security hole in Skype’s password recovery tool that allows a third party to take control of your account. All the hackers require is your Skype username and the email address that Skype account is registered to. With those details, they’ll be able to access your account and change the password in a matter of minutes. The Next Web has tested out the five-step hack and reports that the process worked across several accounts, something which we’ve independently confirmed. The site says it contacted Skype several hours before going public with the story.
It’s worth noting that your account is only vulnerable if the would-be hacker knows your email address. If you’re worried that your address may be common…
Microsoft’s rebuilt Skype app is now available to download for those early Windows Phone 8 shoppers. While we already took a tour of the new app last month, you’re now able to do the same. New features include Skype contacts within the People Hub (and access directly from there), while you’ll be able to login to the service with either your Microsoft or Skype account — no option yet to merge the two. You will be able to send messages to anyone still using Messenger, but more importantly, receive both Skype calls and chat missives even when the app is whirring in the background. Incoming call notifications will appear on screen and its very own Live Tile will then notify you of any messages (though not calls) missed.
This is still a preview of a final product, however, and some issues with incoming calls meaning it could tap into your cellular data connection even if WiFi is hooked up after the call is accepted. At the moment, incoming calls when the app is closed will only be delivered through audio, even if the other person is trying to send video. Similarly, if you exit the app during a video call, the stream will be cut short. There’s also no ability to edit your phone contacts and there’s some missing Windows Phone integration links on this early build. Hit up the source for a full list of the early drawbacks and if you’re still in, the second source will send you to the download. We’ve also added our recent hands-on video after the break.
Skype has unveiled a series of prepaid cards for the UK, offering users without a credit card the ability to top-up their accounts starting from from £10. A second £20 card will also be available in UK retailers including Asda, Currys, PC World, Sainsburys and bookseller WHSmith, with both denominations redeemable globally through the Microsoft company’s online portal. While Mexico got there first, we’ve been told that more countries can expect their own currency-specific cards later this year. You’ll be able to use the prepaid credit to pay for Skype subscriptions, including unlimited world calling bundles starting from £8.49 per month — all in time for that incoming Windows Phone 8 app.
You’re probably saying to yourself, “didn’t Skype just get a Windows 8-friendly refresh?” Why yes, yes it did. But Skype 6.0 here isn’t limited to Windows RT slates, instead it’s designed for more traditional Windows systems and even has a similarly numbered OS X counter part. There’s a number of notable changes here, including the ability to sign in directly with your Facebook or Microsoft account. (If you’ve got a Live Messenger, Hotmail or Outlook.com account, then you’ve got a Microsoft account.) The most visible changes, however, will be the “flattened” Don’t-call-it-Metro-friendly UI on Windows and the addition of Retina display support on OS X. There’s a few other minor changes, including some additional localizations, which you can read about at the source. And heck, since you’re already there, might as well download Skype too.
Microsoft announced earlier this week that Skype would be available for Windows 8 on October 26th, but it appears that the company has released it ahead of schedule. Skype is now listed in the Windows Store, available to Windows 8 and Windows RT users. Although neither operating system officially launches until October 26th, if you’re running the Windows 8 RTM then Skype is now installable.
The Verge got an early look at Skype for Windows 8 this week and we found that it is one of the best Microsoft-built Windows 8-style apps right now. Integration with the People app is included, and Skype runs in the background as you’d expect in Windows 8. This is the second piece of the Skype and Microsoft puzzle, following the release of a Windows…
Noted Rush fan extraordinaire (and expert photographer) Michael Shane wanted to write the description for today, but then remembered he had tickets to see Geddy Lee wailing at the Barclays Center. It’s a shame, really, but it’s just as well — he probably would’ve just pasted the lyrics to “Subdivisions” twice over, and clearly the “90 Seconds…” descriptions are not the place for random prose and poetry.
Stories of the day:
- Dish Network and Voom HD settle lawsuit, AMC programming to return as soon as tonight
- Skype for Windows 8 launches on October 26th (hands-on preview)
- Hulu Plus app now available for Windows 8, will come preloaded on select Acer, Sony tablets
- LG executive reportedly confirms Nexus 4 announcement for October…
Skype’s just pushed out a new beta of its Windows client, version 5.11, which adds support for logging into the VoIP service with Microsoft and Facebook accounts. With the update, Skype is further embracing the services of its parent company, letting users both sign in with a Microsoft ID and chat with anyone using Messenger on Windows, Xbox 360, or from within Hotmail / Outlook.com.
Integration with Facebook has also been expanded and you can now use the app with your social network credentials, skipping the need to register with Skype directly. Assuming you have already signed up, both Microsoft and Facebook accounts can now be tied to your Skype login; the main benefit of this is a combined contact list, though the company cautions…