's ICQ app gets a Windows Phone 8 release

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Mail.Ru has updated its ICQ app to version 1.8.3, adding support for Windows Phone 8 and making it easier to sign into the service. The easier sign in comes courtesy of support for sign-in by phone number, a method that will be familiar to users of other IM services. The new version also add support for photo filters, which can be applied when sending picture messages.

For many in Western Europe and the US ICQ will be a blast from the past, but the service remains relatively popular in Eastern Europe and Russia. The last publicly disclosed numbers claim that the service has over 42 million active users, of which 18.5 million were in Russia.

Key features of the app include the ability to chat with contacts from multiple IM networks (Mail.Ru, GTalk, Facebook, Odnoklassniki, StudiVZ, and AIM), support for push notifications, automatic adding of contacts based on your address book, full chat history maintained between app sessions, and the classic ICQ sound set.

Agent + ICQ ScreenshotAgent + ICQ Screenshot

Windows Phone Store description:

Connect to your friends and family, no matter where they are. 

What's new in v1.8?
— Windows Phone 8 support.
— Sign in easy by a phone number, and be in touch with your friends and family.
— Photo filters.

There are effectively two versions of the ICQ app available for Windows Phone: ICQ and Agent + ICQ. The first of these is the "classic" version of the app. The second integrates Mail.Ru Agent instant messaging service into the app, while maintaining the classic ICQ experience.

Mail.Ru's Agent service adds a number of extra including the ability to send free SMS messages using the app (Russia and CIS only) and the option to post messages to a microblog. However, it is only widely used in Russia, so those living in the rest of the world would be well advised to download the plain ICQ version of the app.

Both apps are available for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8.

Source / Credit: ICQ