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Microsoft Releases Lync 2013 App for Windows Phone 8; iOS Apps Due this Week

The Lync 2013 client app for Windows Phone 8 is now available, with clients for Apple's iPad and iPhone due to arrive later this week, Microsoft announced on Monday.

All of the new Lync 2013 mobile clients come with simultaneous voice and video capabilities that were demonstrated at last month's Microsoft's Lync Conference in San Diego. The demos included Lync clients for Windows Phone 8, iPad, iPhone and Android, showing how simultaneous voice and video worked much the same on each device. Microsoft promised at that time that the Android Lync 2013 mobile client would arrive in April.

The updated Lync 2013 Windows Phone 8 app (version 5.0.8250.0) includes the ability to see user availability in "real time," allowing users to connect via e-mail, instant messaging, voice or video. It's also easier to connect to meetings via a single touch, and call forwarding can be set, according to the Windows Phone Store description. Supposedly the new updates will improve the battery life on mobile devices. Users also can control how they get voice calls, either via Wi-Fi or a subscription-based wireless plans, according to a Microsoft executive.

To get the new Windows Phone 8 update, the device must have the latest updates, according to Microsoft's TechNet description. Those organizations hoping to use the new Lync 2013 Windows Phone 8 client with Lync Server 2010 are out of luck.

"In order for Lync users to have access to the new mobile client, including the video and voice over IP features, they will need to have Lync Server 2013 or the updated Lync Online as part of their Office 365 business subscription," a Microsoft spokesperson explained, via e-mail.

Microsoft offers several different Lync 2013 clients, but they don't all support the same features. A list of supported features for each client can be found at this TechNet library page.

The Lync 2013 client and Lync 2013 Basic client (released in December) support the most capabilities, followed by the Lync Windows Store app, Lync Web App and Lync Mobile apps. There are a few auxiliary products, too, such as the Online Meeting Add-in for the Lync 2013 client, which lets users manage meetings from within Microsoft Outlook. The Lync Web Scheduler app enables meeting management for those who don't have Microsoft Outlook.

It's not clear when the next updates to the rest of the Lync 2013 family of clients will be available. However, on the server side, Microsoft has moved to a faster release cycle. Lync Online will be released on a quarterly basis, while a new version of Lync Server is expected in the second quarter of next year. Microsoft plans to add enterprise voice to Lync Online sometime around the fall of 2014.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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