Woohoo! WhatsApp is now open for public beta for Symbian phones running Nokia S60 3rd or 5th edition. The App (no pun intended) is available free for 90 days, after which US$1.99 per year applies.
Eh, what’s WhatsApp?
In a nutshell, it is an application originally developed for Blackberry to allow users to send messages to their peers with the same app via data platform without incurring SMS charges. The application soon developed for iPhone, and just this morning, the Symbian version is released for public beta. Android platform should follow suit pretty soon.
Although WhatsApp appears to be another instant messaging (IM) replacement, the app is exclusive to mobile devices and you use your mobile phone number (MSISDN) as the login identifier, so it’s not possible to create multiple login accounts or login using a computer. In other words, you must already know your friend’s mobile number before you can communicate with them via WhatsApp. For that, WhatsApp is more like a replacement to your regular SMS than an IM.
This review comes about in less than an hour of installation. Yes, I’m fond of giving instant reviews instead of spending days doing comprehensive tests and write a “formal” review. To me, it’s always the first impressions that matters the most.
My review is based on my usage experience on Nokia E72 with v31.023 firmware.
WhatsApp is nicely integrated into my Symbian S60 3rd Edition phone. Upon installation, it will search your contacts and add those with WhatsApp to a “favourite” list. Whenever a message comes in, the phone will ring with the same notification tone as your phone message setting. A notification pop-up will appear at the same time, and if you missed all these notifications, a small icon will also appear at the notification bar.
Already, I have uncovered a bug, but since it’s beta, I shall not bug on it.
What I wish for at this moment is that I could change the notification tone for WhatsApp instead of following the same tone I set for the phone messaging, so that I can distinguish between normal SMS and WhatsApp message. It can get rather irritating if friends send WhatsApp messages as if it was IM, then you could get multiple incoming replies and your phone would ring non-stop.
As of now, several advanced WhatsApp features are not ready for the Symbian platform:
– sharing of location
– audio notes
– business cards
Visit www.whatsapp.com/download/ from your phone browser to install the app directly.