After getting our unofficial Instagram app for Windows Phone, people’s eyes turned the next big thing in social media: Snapchat (www.snapchat.com). For those who don’t know (and who are over 25), Snapchat is a new messaging service that’s super popular on iOS and Android.
It’s trick? Photos you send auto-delete themselves after a set amount of seconds. And yes, it’s coming to Windows Phone--unofficially and officially.
Quick back story
Much like Instagram, Snapchat relies on private APIs that controlled by the developers of the service. In theory, they could open it up to third-party developers, but like Instagram they want to control the experience. Part of that experience is disabling screen-captures of expiring photos—after all, that defeats the whole purpose. Indeed on iOS and Android, if you screen-cap the pic, it will tell the other person that you did.
While iOS and Android both have official clients, Windows Phone is on the sidelines, again. But that's all about to change.
The Unofficial Version(s)
First look: Swapchat for Windows Phone
We can tell you definitively that there are currently two groups of developers working on Snapchat for Windows Phone. How? Like Instagram, APIs can be cracked and it’s not exactly too hard to do so for such a simple service.
One of those in development is Swapchat, made by two developers under SRC Apps. The app is in private beta now and it works, basically, as advertised. You can register, add contacts and yes, send photos (if the other party is on iOS and Android, it will notify you that they screen cap’d the image, but not vice versa). Notifications don't yet work, but we'll chalk that up to being a beta.
We won’t review the app now for obvious reasons but in short, we’re impressed with it. It’s sharp, fast and Modern UI fans will love it. In other words, it has huge potential and it is the real deal.
The second project we can’t reveal too much about since the developer has not yet gone public. Though when they do, you’ll be familiar with the high-profile indie developer as he/she has been in our news a lot, lately. Needless to say, we'll give you the first look as soon as we can.
So that’s currently what we know. There are at least two indie Snapchat projects going on with and ETA within in the coming weeks. Which will be better? We're excited to find out.
The Official Version (aka now for the big guns)
We’ve heard from various sources that an official Snapchat app is due to land on Windows Phone around mid to late July, to coincide with another high-profile Nokia announcement (think of a certain phone we’ve talked about today).
We’re not sure if this will be a Nokia-exclusive or another case of Nokia working with the developers behind Snapchat to best optimize it, much like WhatsApp and Foursquare, but we’re told that this is a “10” on the scale of accuracy. Though we still need to give it a "9" on our rum'o'meter since we haven't seen it ourselves yet:
The revelation that Snapchat is coming probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise as the company themselves confirmed two-months ago that they were meeting with Microsoft to make sure that Redmond “can support our vision”.
It now appears that things worked out with the app is nearing completion. And if not? Windows Phone users will still have unofficial, highly polished versions available shortly.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.