A new release of Microsoft's Skype voice-over-IP software for the upcoming Windows 8 will be ready this Friday, the same day the long-awaited Windows 8 operating system is officially launched.
Skype for Windows 8, announced in a Skype blog post Monday, will be available on Windows 8 devices and for download from the Windows Store.
"The team at Skype has been building on the Windows platform since the first release of Skype," said Mark Gillett, chief development and operations officer, in the blog. "With Skype for Windows 8 we've focused on how people are using Skype today, and re-imagined Skype for everyday communications across our global community."
Microsoft acquired Skype one year ago for $US8.5 billion.
The redesigned Skype will appear on the Windows 8 start screen as a live tile. Along with using the tile to launch Skype, the tile will show when the user has a missed call or new message waiting.
Skype for Windows 8 displays recent chat messages and calls when a user launches the software. It also sports a new dial pad that Gillett said makes it easier to call landlines or mobile phones directly. It's also easier for users to see how much Skype Credit they have, he said.
The new Skype is also linked to the Windows 8 People application -- the operating system's new take on contact lists and address books. Skype contacts will show up in the People app when users log into Skype with their Microsoft user account.
"We've designed Skype for Windows 8 to focus on the way you use Skype," Gillett wrote. "Your conversations are more accessible to you than ever, and you can switch fluidly from chat to video or audio calls."