Microsoft has announced the release of a preview of its upcoming Skype (2.0) for Windows Phone 8 application, as first noted by WP Central.  Earlier on Monday, says some users around the world reported having trouble accessing the download link, but it appears to be live now.

One of the main improvements to the app is that it keeps users online via the cloud without using up battery on the phone itself. All Skype contacts are also now visible in the People Hub. Microsoft warns that the experiences in the preview release are “not yet final”.

The company announced in late October plans to revamp its Skype, Twitter and Facebook apps for the new mobile operating system. Skype in particular plays an important role for Microsoft, since it paid $8.5 billion for it last year.

Over time, Skype will become Microsoft’s default communications software. Last week, the company announced that it will fold its Microsoft Messenger, which has an estimated 100 million users, into the service. Today’s preview includes support for signing in to chat with a Messenger account.

Skype for Windows Phone 8