Microsoft has announced the general availability of Skype Preview 11.9, finally bringing its SMS Relay feature to the public. The feature hit Fast ring Insiders a month and a half ago, but that definitely wasn't the beginning of the story.
When Windows 10 version 1511 launched last November, it introduced a new integrated Skype experience, which included three new apps: Messaging, Phone, and Skype Video. Eventually, there was to be a feature parity with the Skype desktop app, making those three apps all that was necessary. On Mobile, the Messaging app could be used for both Skype and SMS messages.
With the Anniversary Update, Microsoft was going to introduce a feature called Messaging Everywhere, which would sync SMS and Skype through the Messaging app on all platforms. Despite rolling out to Insiders, the feature was eventually canceled - along with the rest of the integrated Skype experience - in favor of a new UWP Skype app, which would eventually have that SMS functionality.
But today is the day; you can finally send all of your SMS and Skype messages from a single app. The bad news is that you'll need a Windows 10 Mobile device to do it, as it doesn't work with Android phones just yet (although Microsoft has confirmed that it will). To get started, do the following:
On a Windows phone, launch Skype Preview, go to settings and select “Make Skype your default messaging app”; and
On a Windows PC, launch Skype Preview, go to settings and select “Enable Skype on this device to sync my SMS messages”
Of course, SMS Relay isn't the only new feature that's coming to Skype Preview today. You'll also now be able to talk to people that are using Skype for Business from the app. There are a number of other improvements, which first came to Fast ring Insiders a week ago.
Improved messaging – Drag and drop files and images up to 300MB into your chat to quickly share them with friends and family, right click on a message and select “Quote Message” so you will know who said what in your chats, see an image preview of a shared URL rather than a long link, and stay on top of messages with an unread message indicator in chat.
Easier calling – Manage audio and video devices from Skype settings to select a preferred camera, microphone or speaker and test audio before a call.
Enhanced profiles – Start a call or conversation from a contact’s profile page, add/remove/block contacts, view initials of a contact if they don’t have a profile picture, and unblock any contact you may currently have blocked.
Additional Windows Mobile updates – Video calls will now default to loud speaker and we’ve improved back button navigation.
Skype Preview version 11.9 is available now, and you can manually update it in the Windows Store right here.