Early this week, Microsoft made a couple of interesting announcements at the Mobile World Congress which pointed to new and expanded experiences on the Windows Phone. The key announcements are:

Skype for Windows Phone – The Beta version of the much-anticipated Skype app for Windows Phone is now available for download directly from your Windows Phone (selected models only) or at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Check out Skype’s post on this new development here.

New hardware support and regional availability –The Windows Phone engineering team has optimized the Windows Phone experience for affordable devices, running nearly all apps available on Windows Phone Marketplace. Windows Phone OS now supports a lower cost processor, the Qualcomm 7x27a “system on a chip”, and runs smoothly on reduced memory (256MB on board memory). Taking advantage of this expanded hardware support, Nokia has announced the new Nokia Lumia 610. ZTE will also launch the ZTE Orbit in 2Q of 2012 in selected market. Windows Phone will also support Malay and Indonesian – which will be welcomed by users who have been looking forward to SEA language support

New developer opportunities with the launch of the Windows Phone marketplace in 23 more markets, including China, Thailand and Vietnam for Asia. The opportunities were outlined by Joe Belfiore, VP, Windows Phone Product Management, .Check out his post here.