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. Sorry, Android and iPhone customers are out of luck … for now, at least.
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.
Another big feature offered in version 11.9 is the ability to connect to Skype for Business. This is a global availability, enabling users to connect with Skype for Business subscribers anywhere around the world. Thus, users can now combine business with personal in one application, scheduling a business lunch with a client and then scheduling a dinner date with a loved one.
To add Skype for Business contacts, simply tap/click on contacts and enter the potential connection’s work email address in the Search Skype field. If the email address pulls up in the search results, simply select that address and send the individual a message. The recipient will get a contact request through the Skype for Business client. Once approved, users will see the new contact’s status, instant messages, and more.
Finally, the latest version of Skype Preview provides easier calling by enabling users to manage audio and video devices from within the app prior to a connection. It also now provides “enhanced” profiles, allowing users to start a connection right from a contact’s profile page. These pages include tools to add/remove/block a contact, and unblock a contact if needed. If a contact’s image is not available, the space will be replaced with his/her initials.
Overall, the new Skype Preview provides better messaging than the previous version. Users can drag and drop files/images into a chat weighing up to 300MB. Users can also quickly quote someone’s chat comment by right-clicking on it and selecting “Quote Message,” which should be great in online disputes. There is even an unread message indicator in chat and a new preview image of a shared URL instead of one long address to click/touch.
The good news here is that the SMS aspect of Skype Preview will head to Android devices in the future. There is no written timeframe and the Skype team does not mention iOS at all, so at least there is some hope of SMS messaging appearing on Windows 10 PCs outside the current Windows 10 Mobile phone requirement.
“We’ve been working closely with the Windows team to develop additional features that will help you be more productive on your PC using Skype,” the team states. “The Windows 10 Creators Update puts the people who matter most at the center of your Windows experience. Your friends, family, and co-workers will be easily accessible from the task bar.”
Skype Preview was actually part of Microsoft’s Anniversary Update that began rolling out in early August. However, it can be downloaded from the Windows Store if it is not installed already.