Tango video chat app now available for Windows Phone

As promised a few weeks ago, the video phone application company Tango (not to be confused with the reported code name for the next Windows Phone software update) is now available to download from the Windows Phone Marketplace. The free app is the first video chat program for owners of smartphones that are running Windows Phone.

As you might expect, the Tango app allows people to call anyone for free if that person is also using their own version of the app for Windows Phone, iPhone, Android or PC. Even though Microsoft bought itself its own video Internet company, Skype, for $8.5 billion last May, so far the Skype division has yet to offer its own Windows Phone app to consumers.

While Microsoft reportedly helped Tango out to get its Windows Phone program to smartphone owners, it has to be said; this development is slightly embarrassing for Skype and indirectly for Microsoft. The Skype development team could have been working on their own app for Windows Phone while the Microsoft acquisition was going forward. The fact that a rival company has its own Windows Phone app out first doesn't make a lot of sense to anyone.

Furthermore, there's still no indication on when Skype will ever release a Windows Phone-supported app. The lack of information from Skype and Microsoft on this front is a little worrisome to owners of Windows Phone-based devices.  Microsoft needs to make a statement soon about the status, if any, on Skype's own Windows Phone app.

Image via Microsoft

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brent3000 said,
Now all i need to do is upgrade my 3 Windows phones

I am pretty disappointed to hear that the Nokia Lumia 800s are not available in Cyan on contract in UK from 16/11/2011...might be a while before this happens.

Separate your news from your opinion please. What's this woe is me talk for Skype? Why should they be embarrassed and in a hurry to release?

Not so happy with Tango in my first round of tests

. The quality of audio/video is ok, but the App is missing KEY features like running in the background, running under the lockscreen, or with the screen off, etc.

It also doesn't use the proximity sensor to turn off the screen during a call, which makes their decision to put the 'controls' at the top of the phone a bit insane, as your ear is going to press buttons, and without being able to run under the lockscreen makes you keep the screen on the entire call even if you are only doing audio.

These are simple things to implement since the Mango WP7 release, and almost insane that the developers didn't take write a few extra lines of code to enable the other Mango features.

thenetavenger said,
Not so happy with Tango in my first round of tests

. The quality of audio/video is ok, but the App is missing KEY features like running in the background, running under the lockscreen, or with the screen off, etc.

It also doesn't use the proximity sensor to turn off the screen during a call, which makes their decision to put the 'controls' at the top of the phone a bit insane, as your ear is going to press buttons, and without being able to run under the lockscreen makes you keep the screen on the entire call even if you are only doing audio.

These are simple things to implement since the Mango WP7 release, and almost insane that the developers didn't take write a few extra lines of code to enable the other Mango features.

Technically with Mango, you can't actually run an app whenever you want in the background. Only for 15 seconds every half hour if you're not plugged in. Can't really use the background transfer agent either as that requires you to use Microsoft's background transfer API, and you can't get away with using the music background tasking API either >.< Developers also don't have access to the proximity sensor as of yet, which is a bit of shame but whatever.

You can run under the lockscreen - not sure if the camera still operates itself though.

thenetavenger said,
Not so happy with Tango in my first round of tests

. The quality of audio/video is ok, but the App is missing KEY features like running in the background, running under the lockscreen, or with the screen off, etc.

It also doesn't use the proximity sensor to turn off the screen during a call, which makes their decision to put the 'controls' at the top of the phone a bit insane, as your ear is going to press buttons, and without being able to run under the lockscreen makes you keep the screen on the entire call even if you are only doing audio.

These are simple things to implement since the Mango WP7 release, and almost insane that the developers didn't take write a few extra lines of code to enable the other Mango features.


Not to mention the massive amount of uncharacteristic lag that plagues the app. It's like there's some intense 3D rendering going on in the background during list scrolling. Very unprofessional at best...I'll wait for what Microsoft will bring.

So you've been able to actually get the video to work? I have it on my Focus 1.3 and my wife has it on her iPhone 4. Unfortunately, even over WiFi, we can't video to work.

yardman said,
I think messenger is going to be using the skype codec as well as lunc..

Maybe... Skype was a purchase about licensing access, not base technologies. Skype codecs are not magically superior to WLM, in fact the video codecs aren't even close to the HD video content WLM provides.

This is more about access and patents and other things than the audio/video codec technologies.

(Microsoft is the grandfather of many of the audio and video codecs in use today, which is a bit strange that people assume they needed to buy Skype to get access to derivative technology based on their own work.)
*This is true of H.264, XVid, Divx, etc - they all have some ties to Microsoft going back to the 90s, with Divx/XVid specifically using the original Microsoft MPEG4 code they implemented and abandoned as the MPEG4 specifications hit walls Microsoft wanted to go beyond, with VC1/WMV does.

thenetavenger said,

Maybe... Skype was a purchase about licensing access, not base technologies. Skype codecs are not magically superior to WLM, in fact the video codecs aren't even close to the HD video content WLM provides.

This is more about access and patents and other things than the audio/video codec technologies.

(Microsoft is the grandfather of many of the audio and video codecs in use today, which is a bit strange that people assume they needed to buy Skype to get access to derivative technology based on their own work.)
*This is true of H.264, XVid, Divx, etc - they all have some ties to Microsoft going back to the 90s, with Divx/XVid specifically using the original Microsoft MPEG4 code they implemented and abandoned as the MPEG4 specifications hit walls Microsoft wanted to go beyond, with VC1/WMV does.

and the PSTN links Skyp has - will benefit both WLM and Lync, both of which are sandboxed (so to speak) at the moment (although you can get a sip trunk for your Lync server (onsite) - then we'll have native 'phone calling' abailities in WLM and Lync online...

Technically Samsung's Video Call app (which supports native 3G video calls) was the first on Windows Phone - albeit for Samsung owners only.

One of the Microsoft guys did state somewhere that the acquisition process with Skype actually slowed down the publication of the app - I have no idea why. And have we all forgotten Windows Live offers video chat too? Why are we not moaning that the messenger team doesn't have video chat yet?

~Johnny said,
Technically Samsung's Video Call app (which supports native 3G video calls) was the first on Windows Phone - albeit for Samsung owners only.

One of the Microsoft guys did state somewhere that the acquisition process with Skype actually slowed down the publication of the app - I have no idea why. And have we all forgotten Windows Live offers video chat too? Why are we not moaning that the messenger team doesn't have video chat yet?

It seems Microsoft doesn't care as much for Windows Live, i mean.. It wasn't until mango that the ability to "chat" with your WLM contacts was added.

~Johnny said,
Technically Samsung's Video Call app (which supports native 3G video calls) was the first on Windows Phone - albeit for Samsung owners only.

One of the Microsoft guys did state somewhere that the acquisition process with Skype actually slowed down the publication of the app - I have no idea why. And have we all forgotten Windows Live offers video chat too? Why are we not moaning that the messenger team doesn't have video chat yet?

I've read it opened a legal can-of-worms they are wading through to integrate it.

Dale said,

It seems Microsoft doesn't care as much for Windows Live, i mean.. It wasn't until mango that the ability to "chat" with your WLM contacts was added.

A very wrong conclusion and based on the opposite of what happened even.

WP7's original design was to WLM chat integration, but two things prevented it at the time of WP7's launch, which is why Microsoft had a 3rd party write a quick WLM App for WP7 instead of delaying WP7.

The main thing that had to happen was the completion of the WinCE7.0 kernel, which the RC code that was put in WP7 originally did not have the newer networking stack with security so Microsoft could easily turn on socket support needed for WLM.

The second major reason was the server side features that had to be implemented, as Live.com was already in process of being updated for other integration technologies and a full 'integration' API set for 3rd parties. This had to be fully brought online so that the WLM servers worked with WP7 and Live.com along with the integration API sets.

The 'integration' API sets are why Live.com can display Facebook, LinkedIn and other services content, as well as provide Facebook Chat like the Live 2011 Windows Client added.

Microsoft could have shoved Messenger integrated chat in, but it would have been without the security portions of the new network stack, and it would been without the Facebook and ability for other services to use the integrated chat.

In addition to Windows Live Messenger chat integration, Microsoft also has Lync client features that are upcoming, which is the business scale conferencing and chat system. (Like Office 365 offers.)

WLM is pretty important, as XBox has used it for years, Kinect Video chat works through it, Facebook integrated chat on WLM and WP7 sit on top of the server technologies, etc.


As one person stated, Microsoft buying Skype actually DELAYED the Skype App, as the one in production was an independent App that didn't use the integration or Microsoft server technologies.

This delayed the WP7 App, as Microsoft wants it to be more integrated and carry over the integration APIs like Facebook on WP7 uses, while also combining the features of Skype with Windows Live Messenger to support richer video codecs and more features that Microsoft is providing to Skype.

Which also includes Facebook Skype integration if they can get it in the first version.

Why on earth you see this as some sign that Microsoft doesn't think highly of WLM is amazing, as it is the core of the consumer communication technologies, and without it, Facebook chat integration and many of the features of Live.com stop working.

Microsoft wanting to get Skype integrated a bit more and using the lower latency audio technologies of WLM and the higher quality video technologies seems like the right thing to do.

thenetavenger said,

A very wrong conclusion and based on the opposite of what happened even.

WP7's original design was to WLM chat integration, but two things prevented it at the time of WP7's launch, which is why Microsoft had a 3rd party write a quick WLM App for WP7 instead of delaying WP7.

The main thing that had to happen was the completion of the WinCE7.0 kernel, which the RC code that was put in WP7 originally did not have the newer networking stack with security so Microsoft could easily turn on socket support needed for WLM.

The second major reason was the server side features that had to be implemented, as Live.com was already in process of being updated for other integration technologies and a full 'integration' API set for 3rd parties. This had to be fully brought online so that the WLM servers worked with WP7 and Live.com along with the integration API sets.

The 'integration' API sets are why Live.com can display Facebook, LinkedIn and other services content, as well as provide Facebook Chat like the Live 2011 Windows Client added.

Microsoft could have shoved Messenger integrated chat in, but it would have been without the security portions of the new network stack, and it would been without the Facebook and ability for other services to use the integrated chat.

In addition to Windows Live Messenger chat integration, Microsoft also has Lync client features that are upcoming, which is the business scale conferencing and chat system. (Like Office 365 offers.)

WLM is pretty important, as XBox has used it for years, Kinect Video chat works through it, Facebook integrated chat on WLM and WP7 sit on top of the server technologies, etc.


As one person stated, Microsoft buying Skype actually DELAYED the Skype App, as the one in production was an independent App that didn't use the integration or Microsoft server technologies.

This delayed the WP7 App, as Microsoft wants it to be more integrated and carry over the integration APIs like Facebook on WP7 uses, while also combining the features of Skype with Windows Live Messenger to support richer video codecs and more features that Microsoft is providing to Skype.

Which also includes Facebook Skype integration if they can get it in the first version.

Why on earth you see this as some sign that Microsoft doesn't think highly of WLM is amazing, as it is the core of the consumer communication technologies, and without it, Facebook chat integration and many of the features of Live.com stop working.

Microsoft wanting to get Skype integrated a bit more and using the lower latency audio technologies of WLM and the higher quality video technologies seems like the right thing to do.


Agreed, MS are simply doing things right and any signs of dragging their feet is simply due to the rumour mill - we know very early what the plans are, and when they dont show up in weeks we call it slow........

Apollo will bring many many things (multi core, skype, Lync, more SDK options (screen, chassis etc)), just like Mango did, people seem to forget this OS is 1 year (ish) old, the speed of development is pretty amazing when you thnik about it.