Skype today updated its Windows Phone app with new features available for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1 users. You can download the new version now directly from the Windows Phone Store.

First up, you can now send photos to one or more contacts, and you can now receive photos from Skype users who use an iPhone (V5.0 or above) or Windows Phone 8.x device. When you send photos to contacts who use other platforms, they may receive a URL link that they will need to open first.

Chat view has received two improvements. You can now scroll up to load even more of your conversation history than you could before, and you can now add favorites directly by tapping the options button and choosing the contact you’re chatting with.

Last but not least, the new text mark-up feature lets you make your text *bold* with asterisks and _italic_ with underscores. Please don’t abuse this; it can be quite annoying.

The app has also received the usual speed tweaks, which Microsoft wouldn’t detail. The company merely says it is focused on “building a great app that puts conversations first by working hard on performance improvements.”

The app is now at version 2.21. Here is the official changelog, which doesn’t go into as much detail:

  • Easily share your favorite snaps with Skype’s new photo-sharing feature.
  • Performance and stability improvements.
  • General fixes.

The new photos feature is arguably the biggest addition, especially since you can send them even when recipients are offline. That being said, Microsoft says it is working “hard to build this new photo sharing experience across all of our platforms,” so we can expect the Android app to get the feature soon as well.

See alsoSkype makes group video calling free on Windows, Mac, and Xbox One; coming to all platforms ‘in the future’ and Microsoft launches Skype for Outlook.com worldwide, adds Safari for Mac support and HD video calling for PCs