updated 10:57 am EDT, Wed August 7, 2013
Tech in development for six months
The iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Nokia versions of WhatsApp Messenger will be getting a single-tap voice messaging feature, their developer says. CEO Jan Koum comments that the company has been working on the technology for about six months. Although voice messaging in itself isn't unique, WhatsApp says it hopes to make its implementation simpler than the alternatives.
In the updated app, tapping and holding an icon will start a recording. Letting go will not only stop recording, but send the message right away; to cancel a message, a person has to swipe to the left. There are no length limits on voice messages, and playback can switch from the speaker to the earpiece automatically, based on proximity detection. A blue microphone icon indicates when a recipient has heard a message.
WhatsApp is a free download, but after the first year requires a $1-per-year subscription. Voice messages have yet to be added to the iOS and Android apps as of this writing.