WhatsApp’s current app offering on Windows doesn’t do much. It is a port of its web app, which itself has a few shortcomings. Using the web app or the current Windows app, you can send and receive messages, images, files, voice notes, and videos but there is no voice or video calling. As WhatsApp voice and video calls have continued to improve this has become more of something WhatsApp’s desktop offerings needs to add. It now looks like WhatsApp and Microsoft are working closely on a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) version of the popular messaging service.
This is an important development for both Microsoft and WhatsApp, so it makes sense that we’re starting to hear about it. WhatsApp still updates its current Windows phone app, but this is a Silverlight based app, built for Windows 8.1 devices. If Microsoft were to release new mobile devices, like the rumored Andromeda (surface mini) foldable phones, users wouldn’t be able to download WhatsApp. With Windows 10 being a multi-device platform any app designed for Windows 10, will work across all devices, including both concept phones for the future, and current desktop PCs.
A design concept for the UWP WhatsApp project appeared on the website Behance. The design was then removed, when Windows Central approached the designer, who posted it, for comment. Windows Central did manage to get their hands on the paragraph the designer posted with the design:
“WhatsApp is a free cross-platform app owned by Facebook. You can make video calls and send text messages, voice messages, documents, and user locations. I have been supporting the team with porting WhatsApp from Silverlight to UWP. We want them to bring their app to Windows 10 desktop and integrate unique Windows 10 features like Ink and Fluent Design. The project had [a] successful result which led to WhatsApp partnering with Microsoft, and we earned high praise from the WhatsApp team.”
The design concept clearly shows call buttons, meaning WhatsApp on your desktop could soon be able to make audio and video calls, just like it can on your smartphone. Of course, this would make the app a direct competitor to Microsoft owned Skype, so there is a chance this functionality might be retained for hybrid devices like the Andromeda.
So far, all we have are these concept designs so we still might not be getting a new version of WhatsApp for Windows 10. These designs certainly point to an interesting future partnership between WhatsApp and Windows, but we’ll have to wait for official confirmation before we can start to get really excited about this one. Stick with us, and we’ll keep you informed as soon as we know more.