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(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft has released Skype for Windows Phone 8 for users of the new Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820, the HTC 8X and 8S.

Labelled as a preview release rather than the final version, the new Skype for Windows Phone 8 promises plenty of additional features over the original WP7.5 version launched earlier in the year and greater connectivity with the rest of the phone.

That includes the ability to be left on in the background so you can still access messages and calls while you're playing the latest level of Angry Birds Star Wars, for example.

In addition to it being able to be run in the background, Skype contacts can now be seen in the People Hub and you'll be able to start a conversation with just a tap.

As before, the app will require you to have 512MB of memory - not a problem for the current batch of WP8 handsets - and for a more consistent experience Skype recommends using the app while on Wi-Fi, but says it will work on 3G as well.

Following the announcement that Microsoft will be shuttering its Instant Messenger service in favour of Skype, users will be able to log in to the app via their Skype or their Live Messenger login details. 

A very quick play and it all works as expected, with Toast notifications popping up when you get new messages, and the app works well to deliver your latest messages even when you've missed them - something that can't be said for the iPhone version. Finding a Skype contact in your People Hub is easy, as is making a phone call from your contacts. 

It's worth pointing out that we can't find a way of logging out once you've signed in, although we could be missing the all-important sign-out button. You can, of course, make yourself invisible to stop notifications popping up every time someone messages you. 

We will be bringing you a more in-depth play later.

Writing by Stuart Miles.