What you need to know
- WhatsApp appears to be testing a new Wear OS app.
- The app seems to be compatible with the latest beta update for Android smartphones.
- The app allows users to view recent conversations, send, and receive messages.
While WhatsApp has been supported on Wear OS through notifications, the service has been missing a dedicated Wear OS app for some time. Now, it looks like beta users are getting a chance to test one out, thanks to the latest update.
The new app was spotted by 9to5Google and seems only to be compatible with the latest Android beta app (version 22.214.171.124). When you download the beta update, you'll find options to install the WhatsApp app onto compatible Wear OS smartwatches.
During setup, you'll be prompted to link WhatsApp on Wear OS with the smartphone app, thanks to the service's multi-device support, which can be used to link other smartphones, tablets, and now Wear OS smartwatches to a primary device. Once complete, the app will populate your recent Wear OS threads.
Unfortunately, you can't start a new chat within the app, but it will let you respond to active threads using text or voice messages, and messages should still remain end-to-end encrypted. The app lets you view stickers and images, but videos aren't currently supported.
There are also a couple of Tiles available, one that shows recent contacts and another for voice messages, which lets you jump straight into individual chats or just open the app.
The experience is limited for now, but it's nice to see an app being worked on for Wear OS users who use WhatsApp as their primary messaging service. With any luck, we could get additional functionality down the road, such as calling.
If you're interested in trying out the new app, you can sign up for the WhatsApp beta program to get started. For now, it seems the app is only available on Wear OS 3, which makes sense as it's what most developers are targeting.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.