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Microsoft's Universal Skype app for Windows Phones in preview; Messaging Everywhere arrives later this summer

The Universal Windows Platform (UWP) version of the Skype app for Windows Phones is available in preview to those running the latest Windows Insider test builds as of today, July 18.

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Credit: Microsoft

The first UWP Skype preview release for Windows 10 Mobile includes the ability to make group calls for up to 25 people, as well as the ability to do one-to-one calls; instant messaging, photo sharing and video messaging. “Later this summer,” Microsoft plans to add more features to Skype on Windows 10 Mobile, including SMS relay, a k a “Messaging Everywhere.” Initially, users will be able to send SMS messages from a Windows 10 PC or a Windows 10 Phone.

Microsoft only recently decided to remove “Messaging Everywhere” from the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which is due out on August 2. At the time the removal was announced, officials said Microsoft had decided building that functionality into Skype was a better way to go.

Microsoft also is updating today the existing Skype UWP app for Windows 10 PCs for Windows Insiders.

The updated Skype UWP PC build includes the ability to call mobiles and landlines for a set fee; to leave and receive voicemails; put calls on hold; and call waiting support. There’s also file-sharing, screen-sharing and audio/video translation, plus a preview of Skype Bots included along with overall performance fixes in the updated PC preview.

“The Skype UWP app will be coming out with Windows 10 Anniversary edition,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Skype and Skype for Business Gurdeep Pall. “This is a massive new client built on Skype’s Next Generation Client (NGC) platform.”

Support for Android phones will be part of the SMS Relay/Messaging Everywhere capability in the new Skype client, he noted, as the largest Skype base consists of users with Windows PCs and Android phones. Don’t expect Skype Everywhere to be available for iPhones, however, as Apple doesn’t give Microsoft access to the OS at the level required for SMS support, he said.

As to those wondering when Microsoft will release a UWP version of a Skype for Business application, Microsoft still isn’t commenting.

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