Skype update enables chatting with Messenger, Hotmail and contacts

Skype was recently updated with a taller UI tailored for the iPhone 5. Today, Microsoft pushed another update, bringing a few new features to the popular communications client. For starters, you can now merge your Skype and Microsoft account, which also enables the software to connect to Microsoft’s other messaging properties. Most notably, this means you can now chat with Messenger, Hotmail and contacts right from Skype…

Facebook chatting and video calling, if you’ll recall, was implemented in prior versions.

Skype version 4.2 also brings several tweaks.

On the UI front, you can now choose an emoticon for your instant message or tap and hold on IMs to edit them. I find it strange that only iOS devices with a Retina display would animate emoticons.

Conventional wisdom explains that these things are tiny and therefore would look odd animated in low-res. But then again, resolution limitations don’t bother some other chat programs concerning animated emoticons.

Finally, if you manage your contacts a lot, there’s now an easier way to edit saved phone numbers right from the dial pad.

Here, Skype 4.2 for iOS changelog:

• chat with Messenger, Hotmail and contacts – sign in with and merge your Microsoft account
• new to Skype? Create a new account right from the app
• tap and hold on instant messages to edit them
• choose an emoticon while typing an instant message
• animated emoticons for devices with a Retina display
• edit saved phone numbers right from the dial pad
• bug fixes

These enhancements are uniformly available across both iPhone and iPad Skype builds. And as I said before, Skype also plays nicely with your iPhone 5.

Earlier this month Microsoft updated Skype with long overdue native support for small form-factor Android tablets and other perks, here’s a nice announcement clip.

Skype on iOS is a free download for the iPhone and iPad.

So, how about finally unifying these into a universal binary?