Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone Mango devices will be outfitted with a front-facing camera and Skype video calling support so users can exchange video calls. The company confirmed those details at a TechEd event in New Zealand, according to reports. Developers have hinted about the front-facing camera support for the past few months.
Microsoft said the front-camera support will be available on new phones that launch with its Mango update pre-installed this fall. In addition, the devices will support Skype, but it's not clear whether the Skype functionality will be embedded on the devices or available through a downloadable application.
It's not surprising that Microsoft is incorporating support for Skype into its Windows Phone software. The company purchased Skype earlier this year for $8.5 billion. Since the acquisition there has been lots of speculation about how Microsoft will incorporate Skype into its product offering.
Since Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) introduction of FaceTime video calling, handset makers and third-party vendors have been working to offer similar services.
Microsoft plans to roll out the Mango software update to its Windows Phone platform this fall, and its handset partners are expected to release a slate of new devices running on the updated software. Microsoft added Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE as Windows Phone Mango licensees in addition to existing partners HTC, LG and Samsung. Nokia (NYSE:NOK) remains Microsoft's biggest and most important Windows Phone licensee.
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