One of the great new features for Windows Phone 8 Update 3 is actually for developers: adding custom tones to their app. While Windows Phone customers have had the ability to add custom notifications to their devices for a little while now, being able to assign them to different apps was a little trickier.

Late last night, WhatsApp beta version 368 began rolling out to testers in the private program. On board under the Settings is a new section called ‘notification tones’.

Diving deeper into 368, users are presented with two options:

  • Tone for individual chats
  • Tone for group chats

Users through the Windows Phone PC app can transfer their own notifications sounds to their phones. Once installed, they can select that tone through this menu system in WhatsApp, giving users the ability to have a dedicated alert message. The WhatsApp developers could also have their own tone as well, though as of the 368 build they do not have one available.

Having custom notification sounds is kind of a big deal, as it allows users to distinguish between incoming alerts on their phones. More specifically, if a user’s phone is out of sight, hearing the WhatsApp notification is a great way to know if the alert is a priority or not.

So far, only a handful of apps on Windows Phone have taken advantage of this new feature (Weather+ and 6tag are two examples). With Windows Phone 8.1, expected in late spring, a sophisticated notification center will also be available to help users better understand incoming alerts and notifications.

There’s no word on when this custom alert function will go out to the general public, though the team behind WhatsApp generally have a turnaround of only a few weeks for beta-features. Recently, we reported on a beta feature that allows users to control the downloading of media through WhatsApp.

Thanks, Madhan N (WPCentral forums) and anonymous, for the screenshots.