Kik Messenger Windows Phone 8 update, will it ever happen?

If you're sitting around waiting for an update to Kik Messenger for Windows Phone, it may be some time before you see an update notification for the popular IM app. That's the bad news.

Why? According to Kik Messenger CEO Ted Livingston the app hasn't been updated to Windows Phone 8 due to Microsoft not supporting Webkit standard in Windows Phone 8. Webkit is an open source HTML 5 standard that is supported by iOS and Android. Without support for Webkit, it becomes more difficult and challenging for Kik to update to a Windows Phone 8 version.

But all is not lost....

The good news about all this is that there is a possibility that Windows Phone 8.1 will bring Webkit support to the table. Livingston states that if Microsoft puts Webkit on Windows Phone, they'll developer for the platform.

It all makes sense not only from a business model but also from a practical sense approach. If consumers are wanting more cross platform apps then there should be a unified standard to not only improve user experience but also make it cost effective for third party developers.

Source: TruTower (opens in new tab); Thanks, Bilesha, for the tip!

George is the Reviews Editor at Windows Central, concentrating on Windows 10 PC and Mobile apps. He's been a supporter of the platform since the days of Windows CE and uses his current Windows 10 Mobile phone daily to keep up with life and enjoy a game during down time.

  • Maybe they should try supporting the actual HTML5 standard
  • +1
  • Agree. Since when is a proprietary rendering engine a standard?
  • So true. "Webkit" is not a standard, it's a rendering engine.
  • They're probably talking about Kik Cards and such, and how Cards needs Webkit to render a bunch of crappy, not standards-compliant, HTML.
  • +1020
  • ditto! Chrome is dumping Webkit and only Apple will be supporting it with Safari.
    Chrome is being built on Google's Blink
  • Which is based on Webkit.
  • A fork of webkit, which is even worse.
  • Maybe the webkit thing refers to the WebRTC thing. It is NOT a standard and is still experimental.
    IE 10 does not support it but webkit does (experimental)
    Maybe that's what the article and the CEO are talking about.
    It is obvious though that the Editor is not familliar with these things and calls it "WebKit". He really should read through the comments and provide an update.
    As for the webkit love on this site, here is a fact: The BIGGEST commiter for WebKit was Google. Now they abandoned it in favor of Blink. Unless Apple backports whatever new Blink brings to the table, WebKit will be another IE6. Standards and Webkit are 2 different things in so many ways and using them in the same sentence degrades the whole article to junk.
  • +1 -- couldn't agree more! Code to the actual standard and you'll be fine. I certainly hope MS doesn't add support for a dying proprietary API in WP 8.1.
  • Doesn't really make sense... Webkit is an implementation, not a standard. Hell, Chrome is moving away from Webkit
  • +3.14159
  • Webkit... I don't see why MS should even bother with that
  • well then... Let's bring on webkit for the people Microsoft!
  • Whatever works. There's alot of messaging apps out there. One loss won't kill anybody except those that complain WP have no apps. Frankly, my carriers family messaging plan works just fine. But hey, its not about kik anyway. Its about webkit.
  • kik s*cks anyways. It has become a spamming platform. I get random strange messages everyday...
  • Me too!! Random people i dont even know. Arabs and Chinese... Wtf kik?
  • Kik just so happens to be one of the top three apps in messaging (at least in the US) it might even be the top one (might be whatsapp)
  • I'm not the brightest guy on the planet, but this makes no sense to me. Sounds more like an excuse.
  • Yeah. If this CEO is being fed this horse **** by his devs, the company won't be around for long.
  • "They'll developer for the platform"
  • LOL! I caught that too.
  • I really like WP Central, but they are in serious need to proof reading in nearly every article these days.
  • Really though, who cares if they make a mistake every now and then? I come here for news, not perfect English.
  • You don't expect typos in every article in a newspaper article, wpcentral is no different - its a professional site and the biggest WP one - so it should matter
  • Who cares. Let's use Skype or Kakaotalk or +1000 other messaging apps, and SMS.
    microsoft hates webkit anyway.
  • webkit is not an html5 standard!  it is a layout implementation!  kik telling microsoft to switch from their trident implementation to webkut?  haha get lost fuckers.
  • +920
  • I kicked KiK when they originally announced "no plans" to continue development.
  • Me too. I was emailed saying that they had no plan on supporting wp8. So I stopped using them.
  • :)
  • Tru dat!
  • Webkit isn't a standard. I don't believe what Microsoft support these on WP8.x. The engine of IE don't be Webkit for support 100 users.
  • Okay, so screw Microsoft
  • Even though Webkit isn't even used in Kik... So...
  • Why do I even want a messaging service beyond text?
  • Good question but I have some uses.
    1. International, I am often abroad or others are, and you pay throug the nose for international SMS
    2. Read receipts
    3. Maintain conversations on several devices
    4. Add friends with a username and not a cell number which you may or may not always have
    5. Fun emoticons and stickers
    6. Easier group messaging Just a few reasons I use Skype, wechat, line, and whatsapp!
  • And WeChat bring us Text AND/OR Vocal messaging while use less battery power than KiK, and let my 920 cooler...
  • Hello Raesu, thanks for the feedback. I must admit, I did not recognize the benefits of alternative messaging services up until your post. I have plans to travel to Mexico next week. Time to update my "whatsapp" contacts.
  • Glad i could help. Another clarification is that apps like whatsapp rely on your SIM cards phone numbers (and your address book phone numbers) to identify accounts. Something i have noticed is that sometimes my friends accounts aren't picked up unless i put a "+1" in front of their number in my address book (when i'm abroad). Enjoy the trip!
  • Thanks for the heads up. The information provided by you are very much appreciated.
  • Microsoft's not going to switch from their Trident engine to a Webkit rendering engine. There's a better chance of them adopting Presto (Operas old rendering engine) Plus, Google's even ditching Webkit for their own Blink engine. What will Kik do then? This just reeks of a halfassed excuse.
  • What? What does webkit have to do with a RTM platform that communicates via APIs?
    This smells.
  • their kik cards are probably HTML5 based and use experimental code that is non-standard &/or webkit specific/reliant.
  • Most likely they are using "vendor prefixes" to support the experimental features found in html5.
  • I am wondering.... If we turn on background tasks for all the messaging apps out there, do windows phones actually support this many things?
  • How exactly is webkit being used on the iOS/Android app for kik??
  • Because Chrome for Android and Safari for iOS both use Webkit as their JavaScript/HTML5 rendering engine.
  • Webkit for a messaging app? What I'm missing here?
  • Since when the hell is Webkit an "HTML 5 Standard"? It's a rendering engine--one that Chrome (which means Google, which also means Android) is moving away from with their forking to "Blink". This article and this developer are so full of crap, it's astonishing. I can't believe I'm reading this on WPC.
  • For some reason there is a web kit push here.
  • So the CEO says it and wpcentral reports so you bash WPCentral? How is this WPCentral's fault?
  • Well it's easy to bash this article.  The entire paragraph where they say "it just makes sense" is all garbage.
    Webkit is not a standard.  There seems to be a big push to call it a standard, but it's not.  Calling WebKit a standard is the exact same thing as saying "just code it for IE6".  Coding for a rendering engine and not a standard is what got us stuck on IE6 in the first place.
    HTML5 is the standard.  Use it.
  • I agree with you.  However, it's likely Kik is using "vendor prefixes" to render experimental "features" to HTML5/JavaScript.  What's hilarious is that they claim to be HTML5-compliant, yet use vendor prefixes which by their very definintion are NOT "HTML5 standards compliant."
    I tried Kik once, and found it to be a horrible experience.  I'll stick with Skype.
  • But just how long will it be until we get WP 8.1?
  • My guess is early 2014.
  • My biggest question to this would be...if Windows Phone doesn't support webkit, which...duh, why did they release a version of KiK messenger for WP7? I'm pretty sure, webkit wasn't there in WP7 either, unless I am wrong.
  • WebKit is not in wp7.
  • The CEO is full of shit.
  • kik cards. they are most likely HTML5 based and use webkit code. When the WP7 app was released, kik cards didnt exist.
  • Kik is so full of shit it's hilarious. Why does Kik need webkit anyways? Webkit isn't even used in Kik WTF? Let's all spam the CEO and tell him their devs are full of shit, who's with me?
  • Give me a link
  • Was the WP7 version dependent on WebKit? No. It's a simple API implementation, not rocket science. Kik isn't even an HTML 5 app. I bet his attitude would change if WP had more marketshare
  • Doesn't work
  • I could care less about Kik. MS needs to let us be able to attach videos from library.
    Because its Friggin 2013.
  • It's 2013, we should be able to print out pizzas and fly cars..but we can'
  • Good job comparing flying cars to a common task available to all other platforms, for years. 
  • Exactly !! Devs aren't even allowed to access front facing camera to record video and we are expecting instagram and snapchat?
  • This.
  • So what we have whatsapp that pushed another update which shows when the dust settles what SMS will be left in the long run YOU ARE NOT APPLE KIK
  • Also, Webkit is worse than IE6 with standards Jesus Christ. Just support true HTML 5.
  • Whatever happens, we need that update. Badly.
  • A billion messaging apps... All better than Kik... We don't need it.
  • I agree. I tried Kik back when I used a BlackBerry, and it lasted less than a week. I've never had any desire to use it again, since WhatsApp works well and is what my friends use anyway.
  • No, you need that update not we. I am happily using Whatsapp, which has many more user than Kik.
  • I totally agree with you. I've had Kik for over a year now, switched from Android, and I talk to a lot of people on it. :/
  • Always funny to see the fanboys get up in arms when someone actually gives a legit reason for not updating an app from WP7 to WP8 (i.e. The usual bs about "there's not enough users"). Obviously MS lost something in the move from WinCE to WinNT that's hindering Kik from updating and it's not the only thing. Instead of dumping on Kik, how about we say to MS, "when will this development tool be available so my favorite app can be ported?" I absolutely use kik, fm radio and other things that add on to reasons for me to not move from WP7.
  • Haven't you heard? FM radio is coming in GDR2 (already out on some phones and kik is on WP8 in its same form as WP7 (as I understand it).
  • It's bullshit. WP7 doesn't support Webkit either. They just don't want to put effort into supporting the transition.
  • Did Microsoft remove the support of webkit from WP7 to WP8? Always funny to see someone who has not read the article and blabbing about fanboys.
  • Listen... He hasn't responded because he was talking out of his culo
  • Really? What kind of BS is that? WebKit never exist in WP7 and yet they can built an app just fine. Why would they need WebKit in WP8 version? (-_-)a
  • You know, it's already on WP8 but it won't get any updates. That's what it's about.
    If they use webkit specific tags in some of their feature code then they should learn some proper web development. You don't rely on feature tags that depend on a specific rendering engine.
    That mean that wont be able to developer for android too, as they cannot be 100% sure that webkit is the web rendering engine on that platform.
    Time to educate their developers a bit I guess...
  • I think this CEO needs kiked to the curb for being... Wait for it... A moron.
  • He'll be here all week folks
  • Really? Nothing to contribute but calling me boring? I'd rather be boring than incompetent like this guy.
  • What's a web rendering engine to do with a messaging app? Are they planning to release a web app? Bad case of lazy devs here. Also, web developers should learn to support html5 features rather than look for a browser with webkit engine. Who's next to say this, Tango?
  • CEO sounds like a cheapskate...whenever I hear "open source" I think non-paying, bandwagon jumping wannabes, because despite the actual communities support of digital freedom, some companies of a capital nature are just glomming onto a movement for "low risk" easy money! The REAL open source users should take these fools to task, at least Microsoft is upfront and doesn't stand on pretenses...we all know they're looking to make a buck. I could most certainly be wrong, but IS just an opinion... #handinhand ;)
  • They are using the same excuse with the one that Google used. Did Google is behind all of this?
  • got Skype and Facebook messenging so yeah...don't care about Kik
  • You're cool
  • Just as a guess, maybe they link against WebKit and use it to render bits of HTML into pixmaps that they can then toss up on the screen?  And the engine from IE doesn't provide the same API that WebKit does and they aren't interested in rewriting KiK to use a different interface.  As for the WP7 version, maybe they didn't use WebKit back then and only added it to their codebase more recently.  Who knows, but seriously if they just didn't want to do it I'm sure he'd just say so.  There's no reason to make an excuse, he could just say "marketshare" and that'd be the end of it.  So much rage and bizarre conspiracy theories here...
  • 1) they do have to write the app from scratch anyways. different languages, different apis for everything.
    2) the api is there to show html inside an app. for example.
    so no, they just don't want to do it. that's all there is. it's perfectly doable, ie10 is html5 enough for anything a messaging app needs. but there's work involved for each platform you want to support. they don't care about that work enough. be it being lazy, be it not having marketshare that interests them. there is NO technical reason in existance. he just lied.
    and 3) (a sidenote): if he says he needs html5 support and there's no webkit, then he really does not know much about html5.
  • I have kik on my phone and don't use it at all because I was waiting for some type of update to make my experience better. Uninstall... Solves both of our problems
  • "If consumers are wanting more cross platform apps then <webkit> should be a unified standard"
    Did I honestly just read that on a supposed tech-savvy website? WTF are you talking about you imbecile? HTML5 is the standard, implement agains that.
  • Microsoft made it very clear that Webkit isn't secure and so they won't be supporting it. I don't know if they have changed their mind, if it isn't secure, they better not support it. We don't want the Windows Phone Store to share the same state of an infected Google Play Store. Thankyou very much and most of us are now very happy with WhatsApp.
  • I have no problem with Kik WP7 app. It's a good app. There's no hate on the actual app itself. But... I have a real problem with spam on Kik.
    Only 5 people I know uses Kik and they are all on Whatsapp as well, so it isn't a real loss for me.
  • So:
    ChatOn, KIK, Kakao messenger.... Any other messenger apps that I have never heard about and no one I know uses?
  • OK ... Wait ... What? Since when did WebKit is a standard? Seriously, developer these days cursing IE, while doing the same and make WebKit their standard ignoring HTML5 standard all along. If this continue, WebKit will eventually be the current era "IE6". Now, let imagine when Firefox OS take off and gain momentum. Should they also support WebKit when they already have their rendering engine (gecko) that also conform HTML5 standard? (-_-)a
    And for George Ponder, sorry, I have to disagree with this. Microsoft should not supporting WebKit. What they should is conform the HTML5 standard as close as possible. When they do already 100% compliant with HTML5 standard, developer will not have any excuse to conform those standard. Not the other way around and forcing platform to support specific implementation of the standard. That would be anti-competition act.
  • If Microsoft goes WebKit then I may as well just use iOS... You have a good rendering engine Microsoft, don't let developers trick you into dumping it...
  • This really sucks because it was my main messaging app and I can't stand to use it anymore.
  • This is just like Tango
  • R.I.P Kik 2013
    There are other products that provide the same functionality.   
    Even with the built in WP8 messaging, you can use the new emoticons in WP8, and even turn on SMS confirmations.  
    (As for WebKit, it is a dated rendering engine that is not HTML5.  It uses a document/display model, where IE since version 9 uses a newer take on web content the compile/execute model.  This is what Microsofit is talking about when they say it runs closer to the hardware, as even basic HTML code is treated as a declaritive language and is compiled down (like XML/XAML technologies get compiled down). Going back to 2009 and IE9 on Windows 7, there are still HTML5 benchmarks, specifically dealing with large HTML content and graphically rich content that webkit (Chrome/Safari) cannot even get close to the performance of IE9, let alone IE10 or IE11.  And that was over 4 years ago.  The thing holding Chrome/Safari back is the WebKit engine and the basic model it uses that is outdated.  No matter how much work or optimization they put into WebKit, until it is broken apart and treats web content like code instead of 'documents' it will never have the performance needed to handle more elaborate HTML5/CSS3 content.)
  • Try Hike, very beautiful and neat. It's really popular in India
  • they can go to hell, we dont need them
  • Well clearly this is a bunch of horsehockey. I suspect the truth is in the facts that there are a zillion messaging programs to choose from and kik isn't all that popular anymore, so they're only getting a small proportion of the potential User base. Add to that the still small WP User base and they just don't have a lot of customers on WP.
    A smarter CEO would look at the growing number of WP customers and see an opportunity to pick them up before they go to WhatsApp etc, but this clown's analysis didn't rise above basic math and he's decided to ignore the opportunity.
    Add in that MS is building in a serious competitor to be baked into the OS (Skype) sometime next year and you get one steaming pike of BS from a CEO too afraid to tell the truth and instead setting up a straw man to use to blame MS.
    I used to use kik for my international messaging and fit a lot if people to adopt it, but now, due to their lack of support, we're shifting to WhatsApp and Skype. Hey kik CEO! Why don't you clean the sink while you're down there circling the drain?
  • many, and I mean MANY CSS prefixes that started out as -webkit: proprietary have been integrated into the HTML5 standard.  It is KIK's responsibility to deprecate these webkit prefixes for the HTML5 standard ones.
    This is a shameful piss poor excuse by KIK.  Microsoft even gave these clowns stage time back in 2011 to show off their app on WP7 and this is how they are rewarded. 

    The web community lured Microsoft into a stnadards trap I feel.  Microsoft got with the program and adopted standards and now the web community is pulling the same IE6 shit with webkit that Microsoft did....and now they are trying to lure MS into another trap by spoofing these tags.
  • Completely agree. Vendor Prefixes does not mean HTML5 Standards Compliant. It just means your rendering engine can do other things other rendering engines cannot, as it's not a standard.
  • The CEO probably just named an engine his developers said would work and make things easier to do. I know that microsoft has made a lot of advances with IE10 but it is still be FAR the worst of the modern browsers in terms of standards support. Look at html5 test sites and compare firefox, chrome, safari, opera and IE10. It is not even a close race.
    I have done web dev profesionally for about 10 years or so now and IE has been the limiting browser that entire time and that is not changing. Currently the most standards compliant engine on a smartphone is webkit. Gecko is pretty good and would likely work also and blink is so new that most have no idea about it yet but it would work also.
    I have written some pages that worked flawlessly in chrome and I then tested them in firefox and safari and then checked them and they where 100% stanards compliant with no errors of any kind. IE10 failed to render them. 
    Since the other two smartphone platforms have a very good standards compliant rendering engine the app was probably written to those standards. If microsoft wants to get more support they need to do a better job of supporting developers. They either need to massively update IE and keep it updated compared to gecko, webkit and blink or they need to adopt one of those other engines. Until then they are a limiting case of every web application and will face compatibility problems.
  • no actually IE10 supports the HTML5 core standards, not the fringe shit that has been pushed off into HTML5 experimental stuff. IE10 promotes stability, not gee whiz look at me crap.
  • you know html5 test also looks for experimental code support that is non standard and non compliant with HTML5 standards, right? You also know webkit is very much NOT the most standards compliant engine because its using alternative, webkit specific code, along with experimental code that has not yet been standardized, right? And lastly, you know too much Kool-Aid is bad for you, right?
  • In the end though none of that matters. Those features can be and are used in website and they work across gecko and webkit(khtml) based browsers. Even though blink is a spinoff it is still webkit(khtml) derrived. 
    It doesn't matter that those features are experimental etc what matters is they work across all non IE browsers. You can use those features in a site and they will work on smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops etc in everything except IE. Some of those features are actually extremely useful. 
    This is not a war, competition etc. This is not rah rah my smartphone/os etc vs other ones. This is just technology and it is about what works and what people use. If IE is the only major browser that doesn't support certain features even after others have supported it for years then it becomes the lowest common denominator and has to be worked around. Microsoft needs to update IE far more often and keep up on these features.  I chose a windows phone 8 because it worked for what I need but, I don't feel any emotional attachment to it. If something else works better for what I need I would switch the same I do with any other piece of technology.
    If Microsoft can't udpate trident fast enough to keep up with gecko and webkit(khtml) derived engines then they need to adopt one of those engines since not doing so puts them at a severe competitive disadvantage. 
    I do think it is better if we have more rendering engines and so we don't get tied to just one engine but, microsoft needs to keep up with those other engines.
  • true, but the problem with webkit is the problem with ie6 years ago. That experimental code? its experimental for a reason. Sure, gecko may be better at supporting it than IE10, but Microsoft hasnt adapted it yet for a reason. Im sure with time they will, but the problem isnt IE. this experimental code is being treated as standard, and websites are over dependent on this code. It creates a large problem. Opera dropped their engine for blink because of this. Gecko adopted the experimental code because of this. Its a growing problem that i see no signs of slowing down.
    And it is a competition. You think everyone would be adopting experimental code support in engines and be treating non-standard code as standard in their websites if chrome hadnt existed (and by extent, iPhone)? Google made a [webkit] browser that dominated the browser space (even if IE technically has more users), and Apple reinvented the smartphone (which just so happened to use webkit in its browser). These things created a problem. When one of the worlds biggest browsers and worlds highest selling devices both use the same thing, what do you think people are going to developed for? Not to mention everyones going to flock to blink and develop for it soon (Opera was gonna use webkit right up till Google announced blink. Then they said theyll use blink instead. And it wouldnt surprise me if more browsers follow suit.)
    Im not saying IE is perfect. There are some things that are not even about HTML5 that IE10 doesnt support. (IE11 addresses some of these things though and adds support). But its not just "Microsoft's fault". Developers need to start developing for the web, not for engines or certain code. It'd make things a lot easier. There are standards for a reason.
    P.S: Gecko also supports old IE specific code. Mozilla has a habit of adapting gecko to support popular code. But ff is somewhat irrelevant considering every "consumer grade" computer (aka: low end, below $600) ive tried firefox on, it would freeze, crash, or just not even load a website.
  • Sorry, but I'm going to call BS on your assertions here.  How can a Vendor Prefix specific to a particular redering engine be called "HTML5 Standards Compliant?"  It's not.  Vendor Prefixes are the bastards to HTML5 standards-based code.
    "This is not a war, competition etc."
    Again, I'm going to call BS on this.  Of course Google, or Firefox would love nothing more than to kill Internet Explorer.  
  • I doubt they would care if Microsoft supported more of the standards. If you look at some of the html5 test sites there are many features including form features that IE11 does not support yet and they are not vendor prefixed.
    IE has improved by leaps and bounds but it is still the worst of the modern browsers as far as standards support goes and it definitely lacks the newer experimental features that are pretty much universally supported by the other browsers.
    Also remember the w3c requires two implementations by two different engines entirely in order for something to get approved. Things like the drag and drop file upload support would not have happened at all if gecko and webkit did not support it but it is part of the standards now.
    Most of the professional web developers I know would love to kill all versions of IE but only because developing for IE has been such a miserable experience over the last 12 years or so. For a user the browser has gotten much better recently but for developers it still is miserable. As far as dev tools go nothing it has is even close to inspect on chrome/safari or firebug on firefox. This creates an ecosystem that just ends up selecting against IE. It doesn't really matter if you agree with it, think people should develop better etc. It matters that the path of least resistance is the one likely to be taken and writing code that works on webkit/gecko is easier to develop and compatible with almost all smartphones, tablets and desktops/laptops. It is that ecosystem that IE has to compete in which means bringing better dev tools to the table and also supporting features that the other browsers do even if they are experimental.
  • @William: If you use -webkit or -moz or anything like those prefixes, then you are not coding using standard. Period. It's not about it's working or not. It's about conform to defined standard. If you use vendor prefixes and your code didn't rendered well on IE, it's 100% your fault. So putting the blame on IE is just lame. Btw, I have test all my css collections that conform with HTML5 standard and find those css rendered properly in IE. So your point of IE breaking the standard does not valid. WebKit is the one who break standard and try to force standard committee to follow them with whatever they want. Not the other way around.
  • "The good news about all this is that there is a possibility that Windows Phone 8.1 will bring Webkit support to the table."
    Clearly you havent watched Microsoft's new "companion web" video ( which is practically a direct call for developers to stop developing for webkit and specific devices and start developing for the standards. i HIGHLY doubt, after that video, that microsoft would bring webkit to windows phone.
  • What kind of a Fuc***g app is this, i cant Log in to my existing account.
  • Its really weird but you have to uninstall the app then install again and log in and don't log out or your have to do that process again. I don't get why its pretty annoying!! Have fun on kik!
  • Why doent my kik notify to on my windows phone even though i have the notification setting checked on everything for kik.
  • You still have to awknowlegde that Kik is over two years old for Windows Phone, Lets just hope Microsoft decides to add webkit in a future update.
  • Hi! I can't found kik for lumia 820 and I brought it from Australia plz help 
  • Clearly Ted Livingston is an idiot. Webkit is not a standard. HTML5 is. If there is a HTML5 extension or tag that IE does not support then call it out @Ted Livingston! I lost a lot of respect for him, his company and his product.