Microsoft has released a major update to its Lync app for Windows Phone. The new version, Lync 2013, only runs on Windows Phone 8 and provides voice and video conferencing capabilities for users with Lync Server or Lync Online accounts through Office 365.

If you’re familiar with Lync 2010 for Windows Phone, you will quickly see that this is a major upgrade. It supports all of Windows Phone 8’s native resolutions, of course, but only supports the small and smaller live tile sizes. Microsoft reports the key features as:

Choose between conversation types. View colleagues’ availability in real time and select the best way to communicate – initiating an instant message (IM), email, voice or video call.

Support for Lync Meetings. Connect to Lync Meetings with a single touch, without requiring long numeric passcodes or conference numbers.

Call forwarding. Forward or simultaneously ring calls to your Enterprise Voice (Lync ID) number so you’ll never miss a call.

Security. Lync 2013 for Windows Phone provides transport layer security (TLS) and perimeter/internal network protection without requiring a VPN, so your communications experience is safer no matter where you are or what network you use.

In a meeting with the Lync team last month, I was told that the Windows phone 8 client improves on the Lync 2010 app for Windows Phone 7.x by adding VOIP and video conferencing support, and that the quality of audio and video—which happens fully over IP—was quite stunning. I recall really liking at the flat, Metro-like UI of the app, and looking at the final release, I can see why.

Other mobile clients are coming and will include the same features. Lync 2013 apps for iPhone and iPad will follow the Windows Phone 8 version in March/April. And an Android version is in the works, but will be released sometime after April.

You can download Lync 2013 for Windows Phone 8 from the Windows Phone Store.