Microsoft’s Skype team reports that Skype Preview version 11.9 is now available packing a feature called SMS Relay. That means users can send and receive SMS and MMS messages on a Windows 10 desktop or laptop with Skype Preview installed. The drawback is that the source smartphone must have Windows 10 Mobile and Skype Preview installed to utilize this new feature. But not to worry, Microsoft assures that this will be coming to both Android and iOS in the future.
Whether on Android or on Windows phones, users who don’t have an iPhone share the desire to have a unified messaging service in the vein of iMessage. While Google is working on developing RCS (something Microsoft also supports) for its phones, and a bunch of random apps like Allo and Duo, Microsoft is working on turning Skype into that all in one chat client for users.
Microsoft’s Skype now already acts as an iMessage like app for Windows phones, complete with blue and green bubbles. Users can quickly use Skype to SMS users on any platform, as well as message users via the Skype client on Windows 10 PCs. To activate this feature with version 11.9, go into Skype Preview on the Windows 10 smartphone, touch the settings button and then select “Make Skype your default messaging app.” After that, load up Skype Preview on the PC, head into the settings, and select, “Enable Skype on this device to sync my SMS messages.” That is it! Now you can send and receive messages on a desktop or laptop.
But clearly, this isn’t the best of solutions for the mass-market as just over 8 in 10 users are using Android phones, which means that most users would prefer an app that synced with Android phones.
The software firm has just revealed how it plans on improving it on rival platforms, as non-Windows operating systems are still a priority for the software giant (although that might be frustrating for Windows Phone fans). Skype users on Android will be able to send and receive SMS and MMS messages with the VoIP client sometime in the future.
No details have been provided, but the plan is clearly to make Skype an essential feature of any Android phone, and given the partnerships that Microsoft has with several Android phone manufacturers, don’t be too surprised if the application becomes integrated by default on a number of devices.
There are no details as to when SMS Relay could become available on Android phones, but this undoubtedly creates an important opportunity for Microsoft to conquer the mobile market beyond its own Windows platform while Google is still trying to figure out what Android users want, even though it couldn’t be more clearer.
When Skype brings the SMS relay over to Android, would you give it a try?