Microsoft-owned Skype today announced that some new features are being added via the Skype 2.19 update to both Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1. Apart from video upgrade preview improvements for the latter, this update also brings Cortana integration. Fast app resume, increased language support and improved notifications for both WP8 and WP8.1 are promised in this update.

Earlier this year we started hearing rumors that Microsoft was working on a digital personal assistant for its Windows Phone devices. It was believed that this personal assistant would be called Cortana.

A couple of months back at the BUILD 2014 conference Microsoft formally unveiled Cortana alongside Windows Phone 8.1. Its a powerful digital assistant that has deep roots within the Windows Phone platform. No wonder Skype is one of the first apps getting Cortana integration, its a Microsoft property after all.

Cortana integration in Skype on Windows Phone 8.1 means that users will be able to start video and audio calls by simply asking the assistant. So simply saying “Skype get XYZ on the screen,” will start a call with that particular contact. There’s just one limitation. Cortana is available only in the U.S. for now and on Windows Phone 8.1, though Microsoft has said that it will be launched in other markets very soon.

The updated Skype application is now available for download in the Windows Phone store. The public release of Windows Phone 8.1 is expected over the coming weeks.

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