Microsoft has announced that up-coming handsets pre-loaded with the Mango update to its Windows Phone 7 software will feature front-facing cameras and will support video calling.
The news was announced at the TechEd event in New Zealand and confirmed by a tweet from the @WindowsPhoneNZ account.
As well as announcing support for video-calling with the Mango update, Microsoft also hinted that a Skype app (or at least support for Skype) would be coming in the near future too.
It is not like the announcement was unexpected however. Last July, leaked images of the WP7-touting Samsung SGH-i937 (below) showed a front facing camera sitting on the top left of the handset.
The representatives from Microsoft at the event in New Zealand reassured the audience that Skype integration was coming but didn’t make it clear if it was going to be in the form of an app or more deeply integrated in a future update.
The ability to make video calls and the presence of front-facing cameras are two elements which Microsoft will have to bring to WP7 sooner rather than later, if it is to grow its rather minuscule percentage of the smartphone market.