Skype is preparing to update its range of clients to support a new video messaging option, The Verge has learned. The feature will launch in time for the holidays, possibly as early as next month — according to sources familiar with Skype's plans. Video messaging will be similar to MMS, allowing Skype users to send a prerecorded video message to contacts — available to play when the user next signs in.

Microsoft operated a similar Windows Live Video Messages service, before discontinuing the product in July 2010. We're told it's similar in concept to Skype's new video messaging feature, and that Skype's recent beta of Microsoft Account integration is part of a process towards the new feature.

Microsoft has also started to push a new design style for Skype in the recent beta version. We're told that this Metro-inspired design could go even further in future versions, but that Skype is testing the new UI across all of its clients. Alongside the new design tweaks, Microsoft will also launch a Windows 8 version of Skype shortly, with Outlook.com integration expected to be made available before the holidays too.