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Sneak Peek: WhatsApp for Windows Phone 7.8 also getting refresh as new Beta images leak

There’s nothing quite like waking up to some screenshots of the new beta version of WhatsApp, the popular mulit-platform messaging client. We’ve already detailed some of the changes coming for the future Windows Phone 8 branch, an update that looks to be quite massive. But for those on 7.8, we’re told that version is getting updated as well.

Though the 7.8 branch of WhatsApp evidently won’t ditch the background audio API for connections (more on that below), it does bring some other new features and at least shows that the WhatsApp and Nokia teams aren’t forgetting 7.x users with the planned update.

Although the audio API (aka “music streaming”) feature will remain, it has been optimized and re-written making it “much faster” this time around. As to why it is still there, the WhatsApp team feels that it’s a good solution for an uploading problem. Basically if you attach a video (or large photo) and minimize the app, that media will continue to upload in the background because of that audio API usage.

By not using this, a lot of users complained that they would either have to leave the app open and wait for the upload to complete or were confused when they minimized the app and it didn’t upload their media.

Windows Phone 8 presumably can handle background tasks a bit better which is why we’re expecting that version to ditch the audio API. By branching the two builds, WhatsApp can get the best of both worlds for their users--that's our guess, at least.

Other features in this build include:

  • new chat smiley support
  • link to voice call
  • square notifications
  • fast resume
  • double wide tile
  • larger inline image support

No word on an ETA for the update, but it looks like the WhatsApp team is nearing completion and it shouldn’t be too much longer (we’re guessing the first week of June, give or take, is a good estimate).

Thanks to our source for the info and screenshots!

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

123 Comments
  • WhatsApp still hangs on my 920
  • ...and that has what to do with this new beta version coming out?
  • hey Daniel, do you know if Whatsapp is planning to eventually integrate voice, so the app will read the messages to you and you could dictate responses to it? Like the native messaging app does at the moment?
  • Waiting for the 8 version to come out. Nothing else
  • Finally we're close! I can't wait!
  • Nice .. WP8 works better than WP7 but still keeps on lagging sometimes
    I hope they update it soon as this is my most used app on Lumia 920
  • Any idea when is WP8 version coming to the store ??
  • same here. I am also asking same.
  • Did you read the article? That really helps.
  • +1 
  • The date in the article is about 7.8 .. WP8 version was expected to launch by 15th May
  • I guess they release both versions at the same time.
  • +1
  • Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Tell em what he's won Jonny!
  • LOL!
  • Who said it was expected to launch on 15th may?
  • +1
  • Next time Daniel please write the entire article in headlines, this is only wat some people read and expect real time Q&A service.
  • There is no date given in the article for the release of the WP7.8 version nor is there an ETA for the WP8 version in the linked article found here: http://www.wpcentral.com/whatsapp-windows-phone-background-agent-upcoming-version ).
  • That's the reason why I asked .. But people are busy trolling
  • I hope they make it a bit more power friendly. It eats up a lot of my 920's battery, especially on 3g. Considering how important it is, it needs to be able to manage battery better.
  • for WP8 at least when the sound API is gone, I think the battery will improve significantly
  • Heres for hoping, i tried a few days with whatsapp uninstalled got way over 20 hours. When I use whatsap I'm happy to get 14+
  • I get 6-7 hours on 3g. Works for 14 hours on wifi though. But on 3g its terrible. Its difficult to get through the day if i chat significantly. :(
  • Must be a whatsapp "extra".  It's the one thing I HATE.  I'm on an Iphone 4s (considering a WP switch) and whatsapp is major battery hog for me too.
  • I suggest you go for a switch. It was easier for me though, because i use my iPhone as a secondary device. So it fills the gaps that wp8 has, which aren't many. :)
  • I keep on using Stop Music everytime I finish chatting .. Battery life isn't a problem for me, 920 works easily 8 to 5
  • ^this
  • That explains why I get the Music controlls when I ajust the volume I thought it was a bug in the 8862 bug fix update. Could this be the reason for extream battery drain I noticed a huge improvment since removing the app.
  • Lol .. Yeah that's the reason for battery drain
  • You should try "Stop the Music!" to avoid that :)
  • I do thanks for the suggestion, but the phone I have HD7S doesn't have the best battery life 
  • Try disabling the first two options in the xbox music and videos settings. It worked wonders for me.
  • most likely!
  • how can they do fast resume on wp7.8?? i thought it was a wp8 thing only. I can't wait for this to come out, whatsapp currently is my most used app and also the worst app on my phone.
  • Would be great when they bring colors in the group conversations (like in iOS and Android...) :-)
  • +1
  • ya.. i wouldn't want bearing the fact in mind that WP accents are solid colors... so unless they determine the current accent theme and avoid the color of the current theme it would be really dumb to get this feature... because red text on red accent would give invisibility...
    That is probably the reason there are no colors in group chat, unless they change the color of the bubble rather than the text... that would require skinning and limiting the colours to 20 and then again it would create problems with your currently selected accent... because you would prefer the currently selected accent to be the color of your bubble...
    Simply putting it, you can see the user names in group chat so it is better to have it without colors than creating more complications for developers... and above all the color for the text doesn't go in very well with the Windows Phone Design specifications...
  • What are you talking about? The text is in white, and the background color could be anything. It would still be visible.
  • +1 and I have been teased by my Android friends of having such primitive interface. They laughed at the emoticons too.
  • My android friends are also a bunch of ignorant a-holes
  • Haha!
  • the only features that should be taken from iOS and Android is the performance. Because WhatsApp remains unique on Windows Phone due to it's design specs, making it less childish and more clean and professional unlke iOS and Android. The UI looks just too kiddish.
  • I don't want the colors to make the app look nicer, but it's just very functional.
  • What about double wide tiles for wp7.8?
  • As I see, the left screenshot of the first row (with wide tile) actually IS on WP7.8, because in WP8 the counter (and the logo) looks different.
  • No love for WP7.5?
  • Err...7.8 apps run on 7.5 just fine. 7.8 users just get more features like more Tile sizes.
  • /s :)
  • I m enjoyin testing this app. Improving in every update.
  • well spill it! how is the battery with the beta version?
  • Cant comment on it.
  • sheesh what a tease :P
  • Lolzz...
  • Any one else snicker at the "nearing completion" line? #JuvenileHumor
  • I think that keep using the audio API on the WP7.X is a great feature for their users, simple beacuse this is a "always wi-fi"-like and this is not present natively in the WP7.X.
  • No native WhatsApp tile :(
  • What do you mean with that?
  • See the WP 8 version of the tile.
    And see the tile in the leaked images.
    You will get it.
  • Hij bedoelt dat wp7.8 niet de iconische stijl gebruikt zoals alle native apps doen in wp7 en 8 (het icoon verschuift en het cijfer komt ernaast te staan). Maar dat is ook pas een feature voor ontwikkelaars in wp8 dus de wp7.8 versie gebruikt nog de 'plain' stijl, de melding rechts bovenin.
  • So..............still no video attachments from the library......
  • There is, I think. Look at the first picture ( 3rd screen shot on the right) there is a video sent by using the app.
  • You can send videos directly from the app but real time only. You cannot choose from your collection. It should be listed if this feature is included in the update because its one heck of a common feature missing!
  • Microsoft doesn't provide the API to video library, so whatsapp can't do anything in this regard.
  • That video message is on the left side, which is the side of the conversation partner. We'll just wait and see I guess.
  • I read somewhere that it is because WP does not provide API calls to do that?
  • Yes u r right.
  • Nooooooo Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!
  • Because msft didnt provide the necessary api to whatsapp team...
  • not just whatsapp, no 3rd party app has access to Video+Music library, only to photos.
  • I like how square notifications is considered a "feature".  I'd be happy with just working notifications
  • I can't see how it's a new 'feature' (I'm with you on that one) since it already came with the WP7.8 update.
  • Can't wait for this update.. I use Whats App for something like 6-7hours a day to chat with my gf, and i just hate the notification problems, fast resume lack and poor colours/background..
  • Wow just call it'll save you 4hrs tops
  • Lol!
  • Writing replies with the official app is almost as bad as using current whatsapp
  • ZZzzzzzzzzZZZZZ still no ETA. lets hope its in first week june then!
    its boring to wait for whatsapp to get better, well my sister was complaining about it, and she wants the "new chat smiley support" lol
     
    but at least its good they are updating it. but its boring to wait
  • Daniel - i need some help in understanding one point of Windows 7.8
    Background notification for online services (IM+, Whatsapp etc.)
    1. running on 3g network on my lumia 800 with 7.8 the Whatapp application status repeatedly goes "Not Connected". I have to manually refresh to go online again.
    it is really frustating because while in a conversation if the other party takes time to respond (say about 2 minutes or more while the screen sleeps), i become offline. 
    on other platforms, all notifications are promptly delivered. 
  • that's a WP limiation, weird data connectivity.
  • @Smity - Windows needs to fix these issues, VERY URGENTLY!!
  • We need BBM!!!
  • No we don't
  • BBM is dead, Whatsapp is more popular and widespread.
  • Hopefully this whatsapp version will be the one that we all were waiting for :)...I have been using it since day one it was released on wp7 and now I have wp8 and I could say that have been doing great with updates and listening to us.
  • Yepp..we don't.. :D
  • Whenever I use whatSapp on NL920, the phone gets hot and battery drains rapidly. Any fix coming for that? Till that time, I am avoiding using it whenever I can. The combination with Bluetooth phone talk is deadly - hangs the phone if Bluetooth is used when whatsapp is used at the same time. Very unstable app - which doesn't manifest unstability in itself, but causes lot of system wide issues
  • They really need to revamp the UI. It looks atrocious. Plain black white ground and plain white text on it.
  • I love this app and use it when I'm at work as I get no service at all when I'm there. That way my wife and I can still chat and share pictures. Gonna be a nice update.
  • finally
  • in WP8 I always receive all my messages, lags somehow occurs when I click on a Tile notification( upper screen), so I always go to the WHATSapp icon for it...
  • Why taking it so long for WhatsApp to test beta's. Just release it! The iPhone version is also already a long time in beta stage.
  • we need this update so desperately
  • "Though the 7.8 branch of WhatsApp evidently won’t ditch the background audio API for connections (more on that below)"
     
    Well, I stopped reading there. Wake me up when they get rid of that awful workaround.
  • That awesome workaround is the reason we get working notifications on WP7 as it doest have wifi-alive option like WP8. so, keep sleeping as long as you can, nobody is going to wake you up.
  • No, the workaround is because WhatsApp can't bother to use the regular notification system that other apps use. If WiFi is dropped, it should use cellular. Not exactly complicated for other apps.
  • That kinda makes it difficult for ones without a data plan. I also dispice the workaround. Best possible scenario would be if MS would adjust something to make it work properly. Add the wifi-alive function to 7.x. But that probably won't happen. Maybe they'll figure something out.
  • MS is done with features for the 7.8. WhatsApp STILL does the same for WP8, which DOES have a fix for the Wi-Fi issue (though they are supposed to fix this in an upcoming release?).
     
    If you don't have a dataplan, then sure, give you the option of using the music API workaround. But the vast majority of smartphone owners have dataplans.
     
    This whole thing is nothing but laziness, incompetence or indifference on WhatsApp's part. 
  • Group messaging needs an update. Either give us photographs as thumbnails as on android, or differently coloured names as in iOS. Its a daunting task to figure out who sent what in the windows phone version of WhatsApp. And the battery life..ugh.. :@
  • what the!? Every message has a "name @ time" at bottom right of the message box. How is it confusing for you to identify the sender? Of course, it only shows the number of the sender if it's not saved on your phone.
  • When the names are similar, differently coloured fonts are a boon..for instance..dave and dane..or two people with the same names in a group..its very confusing then..differently coloured fonts are cool but imho, thumbnails would be the best...
  • Finally some nice emotions and fast resume. but what is square notification?
  • Daft Punk - Get Lucky ;) :D
  • Anyone else tired of seeing updates for WhatsApp and simply what the f'er to come out?  <sigh>
  • can we have the xap? :D
  • Fast resume. Does that mean that it resumes instantly? or still a few seconds.? annoyingly slow resume somtetimes atm
  • are we able to send songs and videos that are stored in the device with this update??? anyone reply plz
  • that's never gonna happen.
    apps are not allowed access to music and videos libraries.
    thanks to microsoft.
    and also, you'll never be able to save songs or videos received too!
  • Hope they include a way to save videos from App to phone !!!
  • that'd be Windows Phone's fault and not WhatsApp's.
  • M sick of WhatsApp on my 720.....the starting time varies by minutes....and notifications are real dump...i miss my Symbian for this !
  • i get a double wide tile even now, with whatsapp 2.9.4 on my wp7.8 device.
    the only thing is it's a blank grey tile with "Whatsapp" written in the left bottom corner.
  • Does the audio API method in the wp7.8 whatsapp create an ongoing data usage in the background (and increased battery drain)...or ONLY whilst pics/videos are being uploaded?
  • I have a lumia 800 , just noticed my whatsapp tile is actually there in three sizes , but the wide tile is black , it shows the last message and the number of unseen notifications , now just wanted to know is it a late realisation that whatsapp for winphone 7.8 also has 3 size's of its tile :P ?
  • Got the same thing on my Lumia 710.
  • i  want now on my nokia lumia 610 :(
    i'm so tired to the old version.
  • The current whatsapp for wp8 is the only reason to hate it. I am waiting for the update..i dont mind not sending songs or videos , as long as the app is fast and i see my notifications on time, cuz it takes soooooooooo long for the messages to update x(
  • It's not closing to the last week of June and sorry to see Whatsapp still dead in there. 
  • Wen Do we get it for 7.8. Why we have to wait for everything.
  • Any ETA on version 3.0. I ditched my Lumia because of the crappy WhatsApp client but will pick it up again once the new version is ouf.
  • Whatever happened to the update?
  • same question here!!
  • when will this be released??
  • the update is fake..
    its hangs on all 7.5 and 7.8 devices, one of the bad app in windows store.