Earlier this morning, Microsoft and the Skype team announced that they will be releasing a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app for Skype for PC and tablet usage with mobile coming later.
The decision is a reversal from the current Messaging app and Skype integration that we see on Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. When people wanted the 'full' experience, they would have to fall back to the 'classic' desktop app or use the Windows Phone 8.1 full client.
Perhaps the biggest question about the forthcoming UWP Skype app is what happens to the existing integration with Messaging and Skype Video? As it turns out, that feature will be going away. From a Skype FAQ on the release with our emphasis:
"We recently released the Skype UWP Preview app for you to test and give us feedback through the Windows Feedback app. The Skype UWP Preview app has replaced the integration of Skype features into Skype video and Messaging apps on Windows PCs and large tablets. The decision to launch a Skype app with all features in one place is due to feedback we heard from users like you desiring a single place to manage both their chat and voice conversations so that they can take better advantage of their screen."
What is not clear, at this time, is what will happen with Mobile as it is not mentioned in the answer. Oversight or are they leaving the door open on purpose for Mobile?
Microsoft is releasing the UWP Skype app for PC and tablet users first, and then Windows 10 Mobile will get it at some point too. However, Microsoft may choose to keep the Skype video and Messaging app integration and simply let users opt to choose the UWP Skype app if and when they want.
Then again, for simplicity of development, Microsoft may choose to keep Messaing the same for both PC and Mobile instead of splintering development. Otherwise, this could be the death of the idea of Skype as an iMessage competitor.
Indeed, mobile users can currently choose between integrated messaging or the full app including declaring which is the default Skype for notifications. A similar model may carry over for mobile where the Messaging and Skype integration makes more sense.
The decision may ultimately fall back on user telemetry and feedback though the Insider program. This possibility leads us to ask you which would you prefer for mobile? Skype only as a separate fully featured UWP app or the option to use Messaging and Skype video integration with reduced features? Let us know what you think.
As a side note, it is worth noting that Skype for Windows 10 Mobile (and PC) seems to have changed hands from the OSG Windows group back to Skype proper. That, in and of itself, appears to be the company raising the priority of Skype on Windows and Mobile, a welcomed change.