Finally, the Great WhatsApp Windows Phone Drought of 2012 has come to a close. The rumors proved true, and the hugely popular chat client has returned to the Marketplace more than one week since it was pulled. In that time the app has jumped up 8 iterations, from 2.0 to the version 2.8 that is available now.
So is there anything to justify the number bump in the new update? Surprisingly, yes. The app has upped the visual flair, now sporting a number of new animations while you transition from one area of the app to the next. Items now fly in from one side of the screen to their resting position, and it looks admittedly slick. Of course, what good would fancy-shmancy animations be if the app weren't fast? Fortunately, the folks behind WhatsApp for Windows Phone have finally given it the performance boost it needed. Going into the chat view from the main screen, scrolling through older messages, and other areas are dramatically faster.
Other nip-tucks include a slightly tweaked app bar in the main panorama, which now shows icons for fast access to Search, My Status, and New Group. Meanwhile the chat interface has also been edited slightly with Share Location and Share Contact being moved under the Attach menu, and the current status of the person you're chatting with has been moved to the top of the screen while you type (before it was placed just above the keyboard). Oddly there's been a new, minor issue introduced with the update. The new version seems to use some kind of audio background agent whenever you're within the app, which can be seen in the screenshot below. Update: As it turns out, this 'bug' is keeping our WiFi on our Nokia Lumia 900 connected persistently, even after we lock our screen! Are you seeing this?
I think it's safe to say that using WhatsApp on Windows Phone is no longer as embarrassing as it was before. While it's still not quite as feature-complete as on other platforms, this update is a big step in the right direction and we already know there's more to look forward to. WhatsApp remains free to download from the Marketplace, and you can do so by clicking on the tile or link below or by scanning the QR code to the right.
[Thanks to Michel of WhatsAppen!]
by WhatsApp Inc.