Facebook-owned WhatsApp has a new update now that brings dark mode, animated stickers, bigger groups, and better KaiOS support. The biggest of those new features is going to be the new animated stickers. That puts the company's variant almost a full year behind Telegram in terms of timing. But that's also one of Telegram's biggest features. So long-time users and loyal fans of WhatsApp will undoubtedly appreciate the addition all the same
The recently reported update also includes one of Android 10's biggest features. Namely, that's a full-fledged dark mode. Like other Android apps, the change-up happens automatically with the system settings or can manually be adjusted. And it isn't quite black in terms of coloration. Instead, it takes on a dark ash hue with lighter — but still dark — tones used throughout when active.
Both the dark theming and animated stickers are also available on the web with this update for WhatsApp.
Aside from dark mode and animated stickers, what else is new with WhatsApp?
Looking beyond the new dark theming and animated shareable emotes, the new WhatsApp update also parcels out a couple of core features. The first of those won't have too big an impact on most users. Or at least most users in the Western world. And that's improved support for KaiOS.
For clarity, KaiOS is a feature-phone operating system that also has some leanings toward smartphone functionality. It's intended and used for low-budget devices.
While relatively unknown in the US, it is popular enough elsewhere. So much so that Google invested a hefty $22 million in the OS back in 2018. That's likely, at least in part, down to the fact that its core smartphone-like functionality is web app-based. And that's something else Google has invested heavily in.
That said, WhatsApp now supports at least one more feature on KaiOS, and it's not a small one. Now, users on that operating system can share Status updates that disappear after 24 hours.
Users can also now add contacts and share them via QR code. Beyond that, they can assign an individual user's video stream to stay at the forefront during video calls.
The change is arriving just after and is tied to another recent update. Namely, that's the company's decision to boost the maximum participant count in those calls to eight from the previous four participants.
Finally, WhatsApp added a new in-chat call icon that appears in all chats that have eight or fewer participants. That, of course, is used to start up a video chat with everybody in the standard chat already invited.
These changes are appearing on a scale of weeks
Now, the original announcement for the changes — prior to the announcement of animated stickers — was actually last week. But the company has filled out some of the information about the features now. In terms of their arrival though. WhatsApp says that they will be arriving over the course of the next few weeks.
In the interim, the company has had bigger changes to focus on. So that's not necessarily a bad thing. But users shouldn't hold their breath while they wait, at any rate.