The most popular in the world, WhatsApp has finally announced the release of its beta build of the
android version. This has brought in the refreshing new interface, but conforming to the old Holo
design language, which Google has introduced along with Android 3.0. This has been a welcoming
release for millions of users who are hooked to this service. This is more so with people who were
unhappy with the present version’s user interface.
Download the New Beta Update
This beta version is now available for download (the .apk file) through the website of WhatsApp and
this version that is available in the Play Store is not yet updated as of now, which is why it is referred to
as the Beta release.
As of now, the WhatsApp service costs around USD 0.99 for a year after a full free year of trial. People
who have already paid for the service for the current year need not pay again for the beta version
unless their yearly subscription is ending when they upgrade to the beta version. This new version has
fonts that are way better looking, and has buttons that are much better looking for playing of video
and audio clips. The buttons to view images also look better and the entire colour scheme has been
made more subtle with Holo design guidelines. The wallpaper in the background is also change-able
instantly from the chat window even without having to go to the settings. The drawer for the
emoticons is now moved below and is placed right next to the reply button instead of the right top
hand corner of the chat window.
The privacy setting for profile picture, last seen, and status are new and customizable. There is also a
feature of adding a shortcut to the camera for faster sending of pictures. There is also a welcome new
feature of being able to pay for WhatsApp service of anyone in your contact list. The thumbnails for
the video are now larger on chat. There is an added feature of showing messages that are unread on a
widget on the home-screen (but this is available only for Android 3.0 and 4.0). Users can also increase
the message history that can be sent. There is also a feature for fixing a ‘flag’ emoji for sending, but this
is available only on Sony phones. You can also now fix the volume for the recording of audio files on
Sony and Samsung Note 3 phones. There is also an enable Hindi option, but again available only for
Android 4.1 phones.
WhatsApp is also available for iOS, BlackBerry, Windows, and Nokia S40 mobile phones. But
then, not very long ago, the app steered up a controversy. This happened when Dutch Data
Protection Authority and Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) released a joint press
report stating that the app has violated privacy laws since users would need to provide
access to all of the cell phone numbers stored in their address book, which include details of
non-users as well. WhatsApp is working on sorting out this issue with the organizations
while it tirelessly works towards improving user experience.