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Skype is built into Windows 10 for Phone and has an updatable Messaging app

Today, Microsoft unleashed a salvo of news regarding Windows 10. Whether it was news for the desktop OS, gaming or something about holograms, there was something for everyone. After the main event, the press spent a good five hours in private tours of Microsoft's new announcements. Although video was not allowed, there was plenty of nitty-gritty that they revealed. First up, Skype.

Microsoft demoed how the Messaging app on Windows 10 for ­phone lets users switch between Skype messaging or SMS. This change is a total throwback to the early Windows Phone days with the Messaging Hub, and it's a welcome return. However, what about the Skype app—do you still need it for Windows 10 on the phone?

No, you don't. You can still install if you want to, but Skype is native to the Windows 10 OS.

Skype Messaging Windows 10 phone

We are told that calls, video and messaging are all built right into the new operating system via a new Phone and Messaging app. Perhaps, what is more interesting is the Messaging app is now a Store App. This is how Microsoft is getting around the original problem of having Skype in Messaging. Formerly, Messaging was a native OS component. Putting Skype into Messaging was fine but it held up Skype innovation—if they changed Skype's backend – something that often happens – Windows Phone users were screwed. Skype was yanked and made a separate app for Windows Phone 8.1, and you know the rest.

Now, with Windows 10, Skype goes back in but the core VoIP and messaging stuff is now properly separated, letting Microsoft update it if necessary. This is that "native" Skype experience people have wanted but gives Microsoft the flexibility that they need.

Skype Messaging Windows 10 phone

Next month's Windows 10 preview for phone will still have the current "call" screen with Skype enhancements, but that too is expected to change later. That preview though will have a new Phone and Messaging app with those new Skype bits. It should be kind of awesome.

Finally, Skype also has actionable notifications. This feature means when a message comes in you can respond to it in the Toast notification directly. Likewise, in the Messaging app, Skype chats will be in the Skype Blue color to differentiate from SMS messages. Users can just dynamically switch between SMS and Skype Messaging at will. However, for now, SMS messages won't sync back to Windows 10 PCs and Skype Messaging. Seeing as how the Messaging app for Windows 10 is universal, that app may very well head to PCs and tablets in the future.

Skype Messaging Windows 10 phone

All in all, very exciting stuff, especially since this appears to "solve" complaints about the Skype app. We will have to wait and see though how well it all works upon release and further development.

Skype Messaging Windows 10 phone

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • This is something that is really needed for Skype to be truly useful on phone.
  • Truly said.
  • I agree, this is a frustration I have had with Skype on my phone. I was truly upset when the messaging hub was disbanded and everything separated. I loved the seamless integration of all messages in one location for each contract. This was the major reason my brother switched from Android to WP. When it changed, he was upset. Looking forward to the integration once again.
  • Why is every navigation bar is at top? Will this not cause problems on huge screen phones?
  • People that have huge screen phones should have huge hands. Simple
  • It's called swipping if you're talking about the history, speed dial, and voicemail bar. You swipe between the selections.
  • Yeah guys come on. Swipping!
  • Swipper no swipping!
  • Yes, it will cause problems. They do it because the UI designers don't know any better.
  • This was indeed required :)
  • Over the last year Microsoft seems to have it's head out of its ass and started to show interesting things for once.
  • It proves one thing, they have been listening. They're slow to correct it, but they have been listening.
  • damn, i was hoping my SMS chats would sync back to my PC with this new universal messaging app.  oh well, hopefully soon
  • I think it's on the roadmap, I mean, it's kind of obvious I think...
  • Also, are normal non-Skype Messaging notifications also actionable?
  • Actionable SMS notifications were demoed in the keynote.
  • What Nik said ^^ If you pay close attention the little down arrows signifies an actionable notification, If you watch the keynote you can see messaging and email were the only ones with the down arrows. Furthermore Joe DID MENTION as in verbally said so, that Developers CAN implement whatever they want for their "actionable" notification.
  • Take a look at this snap from the keynote. Only the mails that couldn't fit inside the notification centre have the down arrow, suggesting the down arrow may not be for actionable notification rather just to expand the mail and read it. 
  • Oh man great eye lol you are correct, that makes sense. Anyway though, yes Joe did say that developers can implement their own actionable notifications as they please. Im assuming music apps might want to have some unique buttons on there and so on :) By March we'll see a clearer picture.
  • Thanks. Yeah, let's hope the most in the early previews.
  • Ideally there will be a few different kinds of elements that developers can put in there -- limited to keep it tidy, but a good selection. A text-field-with-send-button-combo would be a great option for any messaging app.
  • Probably, if they release an api for that...
  • SMS messages are already backed up in the cloud, so it's really just syncing it on the other end. Since it's a universal app, that shouldn't be the problem. I assume what Microsoft still wants to solve is using SMS on a PC. They could use Skype for that as well (they already support using your phone number for caller id) or just use the phone itself and disable the SMS option if the phone isn't nearby
  • Will other IM services like watsapp have actionable notifications
  • Hopefully the Xbox services can be built into windows 10 also. Adding gamer tags to contacts should be as easy as adding any other contact
  • Xbox app is tied to People app directly, yes.
  • That was one hell of a show that Microsoft put on, enjoyed every minute, So many positive's. This WPC App has brought me so many views on things, I would never have known about Preview for developer, all the little apps you have recommended for free. The Windows 10 Tech preview & insider app I would never have known about it again WPC. The coverage & detail you people do is fantastic I paid for this WPC App it was the the best 79p I will ever spend, Thanks
  • I agree completely, I have a tab to windows central pinned on my chrome (I reallly hope spartan has tab pinning, its the one thing that stopped me from using ie!)
  • ooops accidentally reported you brah' meant to upvote :D
  • Ooh interesting! That's something that wasn't in the keynote today.
  • Awesome. I'm so excited. And I'm really hoping we'll be able to use SMS on PC in the future, but I'm sure that's coming. Microsoft is doing an amazing job.
  • This is what I'm begging for, not only PC but tablets and Xbox one. The sms comes through whatever device you may be currently using and Kinect or camera recognizing which device you are in front of at the time. If it doesn't recognize you in front of a device the sums will default to the mobile device. How awesome would that be
  • That would be mega awesome.
  • Yes, exactly. Whatever device you may be using should be where the SMS comes to. Whether phone, PC, Xbox One, or HoloLens :), it should just be there. It will be when they've finished. Oh, man... I'd love to use Cortana on HoloLens...... <slap> Sorry, Dear. (The wife heard me.)
  • Omg.. I never thought about Cortana on HoloLens, if they don't do that, that'd be a major mistake... Cortana on HaloLens with that full Cortana body would be so... amazing.
  • As a personal assistant, she's a circle even in HoloLens (you can see her in the keynote during the holo workshop demo above the menu). However I'm sure she could show up in all her nubile glory in a Halo companion app for HoloLens.
  • Cortana + HoloLens = Jarvis + Jarvis Actually, Hololense looks even better lololol oh goodness, someone help me
  • You guys know that SMSs are already synced between iPhones and Macs right? Not just SMSs but phone calls too. You call me and I'm at the Mac I can pick up on the Mac. Apple is about 3 years ahead of Microsoft right now. Microsoft is getting better, but they have a long way to go before people like me switch back to Windows.
  • Yup we are aware. But how does Apple decipher different users without logging in and out. What if someone else is logged in under your name. Microsoft can take it a step further by using facial recognition through the cam or Kinect to decipher which user is using what device. Therefore sending SMS and calls to the right user. Does Apple do this?
  • Yeah, we are aware of this, but we don't care about Apple, we care about Windows. Besides, from what I've read, the SMS/Call functionality doesn't really work that good on Mac, hopefully, Microsoft will do it better. Microsoft is about 10 years ahead of Apple in terms of available software on Windows, Microsoft is 10 years ahead of Apple in terms of games on Windows. So, in the PC field,  Microsoft is way ahead. And it looks like they're catching up on the mobile side too, from looking at that Windows 10 (on phones) preview, it even has actionable notifications, so we're not lacking in many features anymore.
  • Yes! Too many times I'm working on my PC and I get a text having to stop and get my phone off the charger or what not. This is a feature I'm jealous of for the Macs lol.
  • This is killer! Being able to complete actions via notifications will be awesome! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • No SMS on PC? Oh boy...
  • Hopefully it is in there or very soon to come. Only makes sense to add this feature to make things more productive when busy working on a PC tablet or Xbox one
  • everytime when i work i hear an sms, and i just let it there, and than after 4 hours of working i realize i forgot to write back... we NEED to get this feature... simple notification on PC saying "new sms" and option to reply... that would make me really happy...
  • This idea just ties into what Microsoft is trying to accomplish. Only makes sense that they do this
  • Can't we just use Bluetooth?
  • "Budy working on a Xbox One" You and I have the same definition of working, buddy. Help me explain that to my mother.
  • All these news are just increasing my excitement. Hope Jan ends faster
  • Nice move there.. Finally they are listening..
  • Little things make the biggest difference. Interactive toasts is definitely one of them. One step closer to fully interactive live tiles
  • I wonder if it will still sync with When I get texts they appear in the "contacts" filter...
  • I am disappointed that we wont be able to do SMS via PC yet but at least there's still hope for the future. That was the biggest thing I've been asking for for years!t
  • Am I crazy or is Windows 10 for phone going almost completely away from the original Metro-style? Instead of icons, buttons and borders we used to use fonts/text as the main UI element. I'm looking at the design of this messaging app, settings and the new Outlook app as well and it doesn't look anything like Windows Phone. That may be the point, but i'm not thrilled with the design so far.
  • It's evolving. Don't forget it's also an attempt to merge RT and WP. It's still metro for sure, definitely doesn't look anything like iOS or Android!
  • While, I still love windows phone, I definitely agree with you. It's like we are loosing our identity. Now the only thing that stands between us and IOS and Android is the start screen :'(
  • Personally I think they should allow us the users to configure, using old, new or metro styles.
  • I was thinking the same thing. I looked at the first picture (not the title picture) before reading much and thought, "I guess that's an Android version or something?" I'm not one of those that have been blatantly opposed to "Android-ish" UI elements, but this is my first time really thinking, "That looks kind of ugly." I really hope they move back toward the true Metro design language.
  • Choices. I really liked the design though. Things need to change with time, it's still metro and very different from Android and IOS.
  • Agree completely.  I'm down with the new features, but from an aesthetic standpoint, those screenshots are a horrorshow.  I loved the emphasis on typography, minimalism and the pivots - they made it beautiful and easy to use.  Back when WP was an inferior OS to iOS and Android, these aesthetic elements were the one thing that people could more or less agree was superior on WP. Moving away from those elements and towards hamburger icons is a step backwards.  MS should continue to be the innovator here isntead of backpedaling - this is the one thing they've actually done well, which is why we've seen Google and Apple imitate Microsoft's design language over the last few years.
  • I got horrified when I saw these design changes :/
  • Let's tell Microsoft that we want back the large content style modern UI in Windows phone feedback app
  • Good. Now I can tell people that we have an In Built Skype app.
  • This is what I all needed from Ms ..great work and eagerly waiting for the first preview
  • This is Awesome!
  • I love the new features, but the design is so ugly :/ Wtf are they doing, they're totally running away from the metro/modern ui concept, and i don't really like that...
  • Yeah .... Exactly what I thought.. The image shown here clearly shows the ugliness that is going to happen
  • Indeed. Even the Office ribbon interfaces shown could be easily accomplished with a pivot-like swipe, but no! And these line icons are ugly and completely inconsistent with what are on Live Tiles.
  • This is the best ever is for an handset better than al other ios and android .. The best is overall all that I need ...
  • The Action Center could be transparent with a black background with opacity in the background.
  • Transparent, opaque, and black.  Ok, got it.
  • Ok, I got it too.
    Bwahahaaha you drunk bro?
  • Sorrrrrry. I was sleepiness.  
  • So does MS get to bypass carriers now for upgrades? I mean if its in the OS itself, in order to be upgraded it currently have to go through carriers right? I'm lost on this move. It's like the FB messaging that was removed that I enjoyed much. Unless I'm missing something.
  • Yes, any universal apps can be updated without going through the carrier. They are being relegated to core functionality only, which is a good thing -- sure they need to test the messaging and network drivers (still in the OS) but they don't need to be involved in UI updates and fixes.
  • Can I use my credit in Skype to send SMS?
  • Thought you could any way
  • So I'm guessing this is the equivalent to Apple iMessage.
  • Except im guessing you'd need a volte capable phone
  • In many ways it's better. More people have skype, or at least have access to skype than imessage.
  • Is that a new phone shown in the display.......couldn't help but notice a change in the capacitive keys
  • Yeah, the back and search keys are totally different
  • That's an emulator.... Back button was always like this in emulators
  • It's all coming together, slowly. Awesome!
  • they really SHOULD deliver us a feature to view and send SMS messages on PC... this is so lame! i was able to do that in the 2005, and now i can't... that really makes me sad :(
  • Yeah, I remember being able to do that on every one of my old Nokia Symbian S60 devices, via the Nokia Suite software.  I remember how novel it was then, sitting at my old desktop with my phone charging via USB, and answering texts on the computer.   Almost ten years later, OSX is just now getting it, certain Android phones have it (Motorola devices), and it's on the roadmap for Windows.  
  • This.1050+
  • Sounds great, lets hope it fixes the missed calls via skype.
  • What is the size of that Vizio screen?
  • My Lumia 620 gets the Windows 10 update next month? I am already on Developers Preview (Got the latest WP8.1 updates already)... Little confused... 
  • Look at that dialer more pivot control. They seem to have moved to tabs. Horrible icons and a ton of margin between elements, text is seriously hoping this is all "temp" but considering a pivot control is dead easy to use in an not holding my breath. I'll still reserve final judgement for final code but I am already unimpressed with the new design language, whatever that may be. Sucks, the design of the os was what initially brought me to WP 7 way back on mango.
  • Pretty sure you can still swipe between the tabs.
  • That's not the point. For me, design of the os in general is important. This is pretty darn ugly.
  • I agree that, based on the renders we've seen and the screenshots, the UI design for W10 on phones has taken steps back from Windows Phone.  If that's final, or close to it, the best new design language now belongs to stock Android Lollipop.
  • I just hope they wake up and realise what they have been screwing up .. Wp7 /7.5/8/8.1 all have been perfect but degrading from the original OS design .. Fb chat integration , Nokia music , hub , outlook chat , ... All destroyed because they want to copy android and attract those users... They forget that what they had was already amazing .
  • I wonder if we're ever going to get the ability to share files via Skype on phones... We can on Desktops, we can on Tablets, we can on Android phones and we can on old Windows Mobile 6.5.5 devices... So why not Windows Phones? It has a file picker/saver.
  • I am still hungry for more news! :D
  • I think it's premature to assume that we won't be able to send SMSes from the PC. I would think you would do just that with a native, universal Skype app and native realtime syncing through OneDrive.
  • Yes bring back hub features!!!!!
  • Wow that was awesome hope that will arrive soon here in the Philippines/ Wow ang galing nyan sana dumating na sa Filipinas yan kaagad.
  • Hoping picture password for phone screen also there in win 10
  • Any indication given that FB chat would/could find its way back to the Messaging app as well? That's basically the only thing keeping Windows 10 from being the perfect phone OS for me. WP 8.1 is already awesome, and W10 looks fantastic, but I do miss "the feature that got away!"
  • Doubtful, that decision is up to Facebook, not Microsoft.
  • Yeah, indeed. I was thinking more "would it be technically possible?" rather than whether FB would add the feature. I'm fairly skeptical they ever will, since they want to control Messenger through their own app instead of opening it up to others. A shame.
  • I think it would be possible indirectly by integrating FB with Skype just like how its in the Desktop version. Then all your FB contacts who are online are also visible via Skype and you can text them from the Messaging app. Would be real useful if it happens that way. Currently, the FB messenger is slow and a battery sucker and after having gotten used to the integrated Hubs back in the day, it sure feels like a chore to open an app for just sending a line of text to someone.
  • Ok, we won't need to install the Skype app so.... Does that mean they will get rid of it?
    If not, what will be the advantages of the Skype app over the Messaging app?
  • Im guessing this is among other things prepping for volte's video calling extension
  • If it will be baked in does that mean that Skype calling will be free? Skype to Skype calls are free now but you need a subscription or "minutes" for mobile/landline calls.
  • This is one thing I miss about gogglevoice and that was free texts and calls in USA.
  • It is worth noting that all Office 365 subscribers currently get 60 minutes of Skype World credits for each of the months of their subscription
  • Great idea..
  • Anyone know if the sync issue is sorted.
  • What I want is to be able to answer and make calls and texts from my Windows 10 PC to my phone
  • How about getting FB back, so I don't have to bother with that freaking messenger app?
  • Hahaha Tats rt!! :P
  • It's a full version ? Like PC version??? What I mean it's support video group call and group voice call????? On windowsphone
  • Cool