WhatsApp for Windows Phone finally gets major update, big improvements

After what must have seen like an eternity to most of its users, WhatsApp has finally updated its Windows Phone app.

We first saw a leaked beta version of the new app a few months ago and back then it seemed to bring a lot of desperately needed improvements. Now that the final version is in the Windows Phone store we get to test it out and see what has changed.

As promised, the app no longer uses the music streaming API to check for messages. In other words your music queue doesn’t get affected when you get a WhatsApp message. This has been a major grievance for many Windows Phone users and it’s good that it’s finally fixed.

Secondly, notifications and messages now work properly, so no more delayed messages and receiving the same notifications over and over again. These issues had made the app a constant frustration to use so users will undoubtedly be happy about this.

Finally the API change and other upgrades have made the app dramatically more battery-efficient. Many Windows Phone users know that WhatsApp used to be a very effective way to kill your battery in a matter of hours so this comes as great news.

Using the app during the past day we’ve seen battery life improvements on a number of devices, ranging from “decent” on the HTC 8X to absolutely stunning on a Nokia Lumia 920 that seems to have effectively doubled its battery life while using the new WhatsApp.

There are a few other notable improvements including better support for HD screens and fast app resume when receiving a notification. All in all this is a major update and a welcome one so be sure to head to the Store and hit the update button.

Image via MyNokiaBlog

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People actually use this?
I'll just stick with SMS Never needed to send someone a video, ever, but I can understand those people who do... I think.

There is also those of us that pay for SMS (to other carriers or internationally). This makes the short messages a 'free' service, because we are already paying for the internet data plan anyway.

Riva said,
That explains why my phone was showing that music was streamed while it wasnt

They had to do it that way for WP7 because it didn't allow programs to remain in the same state and quickly resume from the background.

mrp04 said,

They had to do it that way for WP7 because it didn't allow programs to remain in the same state and quickly resume from the background.

I thought they had to do it to keep wifi alive : S

bogas04 said,
And I am hoping MS to integrate WP to People! But yeah pinning groups sounds like a cool feature to have.

Integration would be even better IMO. It's cool to have facebook chat, messenger and SMS under one roof. You can check your entire chat history with contacts. At least you could have if Whatsapp wasn't this huge. So now I'm switching between the messaging app and whatsapp to read up on previous conversations.

Microsoft is losing its unique selling point. Windows 8.1 is even a step back as they removed integration of picture services in the native picture app of W8.1. I was among the first buyers of Windows Phone because I loved that it was function-based instead of app-based like Android and iOS. Right now it seems to me that Windows Phone isn't all that different anymore. Its that I love the design of Lumias, otherwise I might have checked out what Android is offering these days..

You can't attach videos coz of OS limitation. Umm , it is quite snappy here to resume or even cold boot it. Try deleting the app and then installing it , so as to clear the app data it might be containing along with it. (You can always hit backup in settings to have your chats saved)

To be clear, it's faster than it was before this update but I can still see "Resuming..." when switching to it. That kills the experience. I have a Lumia 920 so I am not really blaming WhatsApp for slower hardware but it doesn't "feel" as quick as say twitter when resuming.

Is video really an OS limitation (or format) ? If I can upload videos in facebook app or skydrive, it should work for whatsapp too, right?

I guess only microsoft has that ability. Not all apps can play around with videos, that's why we don't have any video editing apps.

About time! Great updates. Finally usable =P

I'm confused about the calling feature, why does it use the carrier, not the internet!?

I've heard this update brings it up to par with the iOS version. That says a lot really, if more and more of these official apps show up and are also at the same level or a bit better than their iOS versions then there's really not much reason or someone not to switch unless there's still some app they use that hasn't been ported over.

I'm also seeing more banks come out with official WP apps to, another key indicator IMO.

GP007 said,
I've heard this update brings it up to par with the iOS version. That says a lot really, if more and more of these official apps show up and are also at the same level or a bit better than their iOS versions then there's really not much reason or someone not to switch unless there's still some app they use that hasn't been ported over.

I'm also seeing more banks come out with official WP apps to, another key indicator IMO.

Yes. I updated today. Can't say how much It changed the total Whatsapp app experience. It's so much faster and cooler like native system app. Thanks to Whatsapp team.

bogas04 said,
They did recently update Viber for WP8 , it now supports Stickers and emoticons too.

OMG stickers and emoticons!?