Skype's new drawing feature appears on Windows Phone first


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Microsoft-owned Skype has a fancy new sketching feature, and it's coming to Windows Phone before it lands anywhere else. 

The new update brings "drawing to Skype for the first time," Skype said in a blog post announcing the update. With the new drawing feature, Windows Phone users can make a quick sketch with their finger or stylus, draw on an image, or even annotate a Bing Map, then send the image to a contact.

Why this matters: Sketching inside a messaging app isn't a particularly new or innovative feature. Google added the feature to Hangouts in Chrome in June, the Apple Watch is going to have sketch messaging, and even MSN Messenger used to offer it.

What's interesting is to see Microsoft favoring its less popular platform with a new Skype feature, after years of playing catch-up with Android and iOS. This isn't the first time Skype has received first-class attention from Microsoft in recent months, either. From now on, can we expect Microsoft to use Windows Phone as the launch platform for new Skype features, the way Google does with its services on Android? Perhaps. Regardless, with so many more users on Android and iOS and Microsoft's new cross-platform focus, we should see the new sketching feature roll out to other platforms in the coming weeks.

Draw with friends


Skype's drawing feature in Windows Phone 8 and 8.1.

Drawing on Skype is easy enough, as Skype explains it. Once you're in a chat, select the '+' icon and then select drawing to start sketching.

Beyond drawing and map annotations, the new version of Skype now lets you automatically sign-in to the app via the Microsoft Account linked to your phone similar to Google-based Android sign-ins.

Skype has also added HD screen support, and says the new version of Skype has a faster resume time on Windows Phone 8.1. In June, Skype also released a Windows Phone update that was supposed to improve resume times.

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