Voice Messaging – A Secret Weapon On Windows Phone 8

Christian Cawley 09-05-2013

voice messaging for windows phoneOne of the most important things about using a smartphone is the ease with which you can compose and send messages.


These might be SMS/MMS messages, emails or even a social network. The important thing, of course, is that you are able to get in touch with the other person as easily and efficiently as possible. Certain mobile phone platforms prevent this. For instance, my main memory of a six month experience with BlackBerry is one of scrolling a wheel to find the right menu option and a physical keyboard that is too small for my thumbs to cope with – clumsy and inefficient.

Such issues are not found on smartphones these days, and in the case of Windows Phone 8 there are many improvements over competitors and predecessor versions that messaging has become as effortless as making a phonecall.

SMS & MMS Messaging

SMS or text messaging is easily launched and used in Windows Phone 8. The native app handles SMS and MMS formats (that is, standard messages and those including multimedia such as video, pictures or audio, which can be added with the Attachment button).

voice messaging for windows phone

Threads can be deleted by opening them, tapping the menu button and choosing the Delete thread option, while the menu on the main messaging screen opens the messaging Settings screen which will toggle various options.


Here you can configure backups of text messages, decide whether you want notification alerts of successful message delivery and even toggle the integration of Facebook chat.

Yes, you heard that right.

Facebook Messaging Integration

Ask any Windows Phone user and they will tell you that one of the reasons that they love using the platform is the integration of social networks with the standard contacts.

This is something that was introduced in Windows Phone 7, and has been expanded upon with Windows Phone 8. If you have configured your phone to integrate your Facebook account into your contacts (the People Hub will display updates from social networks including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) you can also decide whether or not you want Facebook chat integrated too.


windows phone voice message

As described above, this can be setup via Messaging > Settings > Use Facebook Chat. Your Facebook account can be added via Settings > Email+accounts > Add an account, where you will need to input your Facebook username and password.

When your Facebook account is added, you can easily message your contacts through that network. Better still, you can switch between SMS/MMS messaging and Facebook chat within the same threaded conversation (note that unless your contact is also on Windows Phone, this might prove confusing for them. It will make perfect sense to you, however).

Send a Text Message With Your Voice

Since Windows Phone was released in 2010, I’ve been rather impressed with its voice control options, and this is another feature that has been revised in Windows Phone 8. This time around, voice control has been extended to messaging.


windows phone voice message

I can, for instance, hold the Start button and instruct the phone to “text Ceri” in order to send a text message to my wife. Once this is done, you can either instruct the phone to “send”, “add more” or “try again.”

After letting go of the Start button (the gesture that launches the voice texting) the system is completely hands free, and a great way to effortlessly get in touch with people. You can also dictate messages within a threaded conversation by tapping the microphone button.

Note that when using voice controls on Windows Phone, your device will need to be connected to the Internet in order for the speech detection to work.


Third Party Messaging Apps

If you need a wider selection of messaging services on your Windows Phone, the following are available:

  • Skype: surprisingly, Microsoft’s most high-profile acquisition ever isn’t yet integrated into Windows Phone. Some say this is because of resistance from carriers, but it seems inevitable, really…
  • Whatsapp: the popular international text messaging system, available across most mobile platforms. Enables you to create chat groups and share pictures.
  • eBuddy XMS: a similar services to Whatsapp.
  • Palringo: offers text and voice messaging as well as the creation of groups.
  • Kik Messenger: another cross platform messenger with text chat, picture sharing and groups.

Many other messaging tools can be used with Windows Phone, and those listed above are all free.

Conclusion – Windows Phone Has Messaging Sewn Up

I’ve never known a mobile platform that offers so many options for messaging. What is particular impressive is how seemingly separate elements have been integrated into Windows Phone’s messaging system, from Facebook chat to voice dictation.

voice messaging for windows phone

The integration is seamless, and while other platforms also offer similar functionality, I reckon Windows Phone edges it by keeping things nicely wrapped up and easily accessed without hitting a menu button or requiring a third party app. The once- tedious and at-times complicated matter of texting has been magnificently streamlined by Microsoft in Windows Phone 8.

All in all, messaging is fast and efficient – what more could you ask for?

Related topics: Instant Messaging, Voice Message, Windows Phone, Windows Phone 8.

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  1. VN
    October 9, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I wish Linkedin messages were integrated into Win Phone 8 messaging app, the same way that facebook messaging is. With Linkedin, only the status updates and posts is updated into the Me app.

  2. Brad
    May 14, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Is it standard on windows phone 8 that picture or video messages can only download by being connected to data?

    • Christian Cawley
      May 14, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      I believe this is because picture and video messages (MMS) are hosted by the mobile network.

  3. null
    May 10, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    I have a windows 8 phone, and love it. But I don't agree with the conclusion that they have messaging "sewn up".

    Group messaging is a severe problem. The phone can send messages to multiple people without a problem. However, all replies are not kept in the chain, but fall under the specific individual who sent the reply. There is also no way for the phone to display who else has received this text message. When you are receiving messages from a large group of people trying to coordinate anything it is virtually impossible to be part of the conversation (if you are not the original sender, you have no idea who else is part of the conversation).

    This one particular issue, while not in and of itself a reason not to try the phone because there are a lot of other great features, is a terrible omission on Microsoft's part and should be addressed as quickly as possible. I also could be completely missing a setting that rectifies this. If anyone has found one, please share it.

    Secondary Apps require other people to have them and not everyone lives on Social Media, so those aren't real replacements for how Windows Phone 8 handles messaging.

    • Christian Cawley
      May 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Null - these are fair points and I wouldn't completely disagree with you. I've had the benefit of a wife who also has a Windows Phone, which makes conversation threads a lot easier to deal with.

    • WixosTrix
      May 17, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      In the messaging hub, slide up the (...) on the app bar and tap "Settings". There you should see a switch to turn on group messaging. If it's not there, then your carrier doesn't support the feature. I know Verizon isn't supporting it right now (http://bit.ly/UKUefS).

      Also, the people you are messaging have to have the feature too, for it to work properly. Say I send a message to three friends, but one of their phones doesn't support it or they'll experience what you are now, getting a bunch of separate messages.

      If you want a better group messaging experience, try GroupMe or WhatsApp. Some of your friends are likely using the latter, but the former has some pretty unique features.