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Skype for Windows Phone 8 app update brings HD video, landscape mode

Face-to-face Skype video calls on your Windows Phone 8 device are about to look a lot more crisp and clear.

Microsoft-owned Skype has released an update for its Skype for Windows Phone 8 Preview app, adding support for high-definition video. High-end handsets like the Nokia Lumia 920, HTC 8X, and Samsung Ativ S will be able to deliver up to 720p HD video, depending on network conditions, while lower-end phones will get VGA video.

"The app even intelligently determines the best quality available based on the speed of your connection," according to a blog post from Derek Snyder, head of mobile marketing at Skype.

The latest iteration of the app (version 2.4) also lets you take a video call in landscape mode, and switch between the front and rear camera, so you can show the person on the other end of the line what's around you.

The update should also make it easier to start a Skype call. All Skype contacts will now be listed in People Hub for those with the latest version of Windows Phone 8, letting you make a Skype call without even opening the app.

Finally, the app now lets you switch between Skype accounts, a feature many users have requested, Snyder said. To switch to a different account, simply tap on your profile photo and choose "switch accounts" from the menu.

In addition to the new features, the latest version also fixes a number of issues, including a problem that prevented people from receiving incoming IM and call notifications when the app was closed.

The update comes after Skype first released the preview version of its VoIP app for Windows Phone 8 back in November.

"We're hugely thankful for the continued feedback as we put the finishing touches on Skype for Windows Phone 8," Snyder wrote.

The updated app is available for download in the Windows Phone store.