Whatsapp is everyone’s favourite Mobile Instant Messaging App, and for good reason. Its one IM service that is available on a huge variety of platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry and even Symbian. This effectively means that almost all smartphones available in the market are capable of running WhatsApp and can have free messaging between each other, as long as they have an internet connection. This independence from carriers and SMS charges has gone down extremely well with users, with millions and millions of people now using WhatsApp.
It does have some competitors: Blackberry Messenger, LiveProfile and soon to launch iMessaging. However, they lack the array of platforms WhatsApp is available on.
Nokia’s S40 devices have always sold in huge quantities in emerging markets. They are not smartphone devices and have lacked multitasking and real app support. However, a while back WhatsApp pleasantly surprised us all and announced a beta version of WhatsApp for S40.
Though it wasn’t easy, we found someone with a Nokia C3-00 and gave WhatsApp a spin on their device.
To install it, you have to fire up the S40 web browser and visit www.whatsapp.com. A mobile site opens up with a Download button and a 600Kb file downloads.
Once installed, you can access it by opening Application, going to Extras and opening the WhatsApp app.
I didn’t have too many expectations from the beta and was pleasantly surprised. On starting up the app, you are made to verify your number and input a Chat Name. Then you can set your WhatsApp status, as is common on smartphones.
Now you can see which contacts from your phone book are already on WhatsApp from the options menu. Once you start chatting, a list of current open conversation is shown.
While in a conversation, you can use the QWERTY keyboard’s various keys for shortcuts: r to reply, t to go to top, b to go to bottom. Definitely useful.
When you open a conversation, different contacts are listen in different colors. We were happy to see that S40 users can take part in group chats, though they cannot initiate a group chat themselves, yet.
While the app doesn’t allow S40 users to send media, saying that Sending Media will come soon, it is possible to view media that someone else sends, as shown below.
Since this a beta, there is also an option to send feedback from the app itself. What we found most impressive was that lowly S40 phones now have MULTITASKING in this app! You can close the app and do something else and when someone messages you, it pops up as shown below.
So all in all, a surprisingly capable public beta of WhatsApp for S40. As off now it is only available for the X2-01 and the C3-00 (phew, Nokia’s naming conventions!). However support for more devices shouldn’t be to far. What is most significant is that S40 users have off late started getting tempted to switch to low end Android and Blackberry handsets to use WhatsApp and now that they can get it on their current device, is a plus for everyone.
Also, since it is available for Java running S40 devices, in theory this means that one fine day, WhatsApp could support Java phones off other, smaller brands. If WhatsApp becomes available as a download for all Java supported phones, it would be revolutionary. Everyone from the MicroMax budget phone user to the high end user would be on one messaging platform. It would ensure WhatsApp’s supremacy over other solutions that keep cropping up.
Are you an S40 user? Have you given WhatsApp a try? Again, fire up your phone web browser and visit www.whatsapp.com or follow this Ovi Store Link and be sure to tell us about your experience!