Tag Archives: Skype

Bing Offers Group Check-In App for Windows Phone 7

Microsoft’s Bing mobile search team launched a group check-in application called We’re In to play in the group communications space with Google, Facebook and others.

When it comes to socially oriented mobile applications, Facebook and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) tend to be among the leaders in mind and market share.

Facebook just launched Facebook Messenger, and Google+ includes Hangouts and Huddle apps.

Microsoft wants to play there as well via Bing. The company launched We’re In, an application for Windows Phone 7 (WP7) smartphones that lets users invite their friends to share their location and post status updates.

While Foursquare, Facebook Places and Latitude offer check-in capabilities for individual users, We’re In is a group check-in application for friends who want to find each other within crowds. When invitees join, they agree to share their location with other Windows Phone 7 users via Bing Maps.

Users must provide their mobile phone numbers to sign up and then must pick friends or enter phone numbers from their WP7 contacts. The users then tell their friends what the plan is and how long they want to share location info for the proposed meet-up.

Invitees receive a text message with these details, and they may then use the app to join the person who invited them. Users of phones other than WP7, such as iPhone or Android handsets, needn’t worry about being left out.

Those users will also receive a text from We’re In and may join from the mobile Website via the invite. However, the Bing mobile team is also working to port We’re In as a native app for other platforms.

When friends join the We’re In meet-up, their locations surface on the Bing Map, with everyone who joined able to see everyone else’s location.

We’re In users may also update their status to let friends know that they’re on their way or are running late, among other details. We’re In’s People tab aggregates the status messages of everyone who has joined the meet-up.

Bing has decent privacy measures in place so that users aren’t letting themselves be tracked by friends all of the time. For example, when the invite expires, the shared location does as well. Users may also stop sharing their location info at any time by tapping “leave” on the People tab.

Group communications services are becoming increasingly popular. Skype, the VOIP company being acquired by Microsoft, has just purchased group messaging service GroupMe. Facebook purchased group chat specialist Beluga and launched a Facebook Messenger group chat application based on those company’s assets.

The Google+ social network launched with Hangouts for group videoconferencing and Huddle group messaging for handsets.

Clearly, Bing is eager to grab a piece of this action for its nascent WP7 platform. With a group check-in model, Bing has a fresh approach compared to those companies. Perhaps the app can eventually provide some rewards for users who check in to group meetings and places first.

It’s unclear whether the difference will appeal enough to users to boost user engagement, both of Bing’s mobile search and WP7.



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Skype Discloses Future Plans, First Goal Windows Phone 7 App

Internet communications giant Skype is planning to launch products tightly integrated around Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360 console and enterprise products.

The company, which is on the verge of being acquired by software giant Microsoft, also plans to continue its path of integration with Facebook and release a bunch of telephony products for the platform.

Neil Stevens, Skype’s vice president and general manager of products and marketing, said that one of the first products to come out of the Skype-Microsoft marriage will be a Skype app for the Windows Phone 7 mobile platform, according to Forbes.

Stevens claims that the company wants to create an app which feels more like a part of the platform rather than just an app and Skype will be able to do this, now that it will have unrestricted access to Windows Phone 7.

“A Windows Phone app, if done well, can show people what a really great Skype experience is like when there are no hardware or vendor limitations,” said Stevens.

The company offers apps for the iOS and Android platforms, but has to work under certain limitations imposed by Apple and Google. “We’re disadvantaged against [iOS and Android’s video-chat service] FaceTime because of this closed environment,” he claimed.


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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Android, Apple, iOS, iPhone, Windows Phone 7


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Skype VP Hints at Deeply Integrated Windows Phone App

It’s no secret that Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Skype, still pending European regulatory approval but passed U.S. approval, will result in more Microsoft products with Skype integration, and in particular Windows Phone. New Windows Phone 7 Mango devices that will be released this Fall are expected with front-facing camera, and Skype may fill the role of being the video chat provider once it begins to work with Microsoft in delivering a deeply integrated experience on the mobile Windows Phone operating system, according to Skype Vice President Neil Stevens.

Though Skype already has a number of video chat apps for various other mobile platforms, including HP’s webOS, Google’s Android OS, and Apple’s iOS platforms, Stevens says that Skype for Windows Phone 7 will be an entirely different experience than that on rival mobile operating systems. Once the acquisition gains the necessary approval in Europe, Skype and Microsoft can begin collaborating, and when Skype becomes an embedded division within Microsoft’s empire, it will be granted deep OS-level access to Windows Phone. This way, Skype won’t feel like a separate app, but will feel like part of the phone experience.

Stevens highlights that the experience, and also the performance of Skype, will surpass that of current Skype experiences on iOS and Android. On the Apple platform, the company doesn’t allow third-party apps like Skype to have access to the video processor or address book. On Android, Google allows apps access to the address book, but not the video processor. Perhaps this is a big reason why Skype is only slowly rolling out video chat functionality slowly to few Android handsets at a time because of the disparate nature of various video processors and graphics engine in different Android phones.

Because of Microsoft’s unified ‘chassis’ build–which the Redmond, Washington software company says is their suggested minimum hardware requirements–Windows Phone will have a more unified hardware across various different phones spanning all phone manufacturers. That means that just one or two builds of Skype will work on all devices as all devices are required to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, unlike Android’s plethora of hardware builds.

Hopefully, with an integrated Skype experience, Windows Phone users can begin making video calls as easily as they can make voice calls and chat on Skype will be as natural as sending an SMS. With Microsoft pushing for both the consumer and enterprise customers, this will be a big selling point for the nascent OS.


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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Android, Mango, Microsoft, Skype, WP7


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Windows Phone 7 App of the Week: Skype Video Calling Possibly Coming to Windows Phones in the Near Future
Of course, that statement shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that Skype’s new owners have a bit of a vested interest in bringing that technology to Windows Phones (hint – it’s Microsoft).

This is purely speculative as of right now, but a recent job ad from Skype says they are looking for someone to optimize the Skype Video Engine for Microsoft Windows Phones – so, you know, that’s a pretty good sign. As no official statement has been released, there is no timetable for when this will actually be available to consumers. But, if you’re a Windows Phone owner, it’s something worth keeping your eye on.


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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Microsoft, Windows Phone 7


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Why Microsoft wants Skype: Windows Phone 7

Video chat, voice and telephony leverage, endeavor communications: Skype brings it all

So we’re still mere hours into the post-apocalyptic world where Skype has been acquired, not by Google nor Facebook, as was rumored, but by the tech company that could be their grandparent: Microsoft. And the contract didn’t go for a measly $4 billion, but for $8.5 billion in cash. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Microsoft, Windows 7 Phone


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MIX’ 11: Microsoft Shows Windows Phone 7 Platform Updates

Windows phone users rejoice! After some of the announcements Microsoft made as it detailed the update it has planned for it’s mobile platform, there’s great reason to do so. Microsoft’s development platform will be in developers hands sometime in May, free of charge of course. This gives them ample time to use the platform, get creative and create something engaging before the update hits subscribers handsets. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in NoDo, WP7


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