Well… it’s not exactly “new” – WhatsApp already had a voice note attachment feature, but you’d be surprised to find the number of users who aren’t aware of this. Now WhatsApp have made the feature more prominent and easier to use.
Sending a voice message is now as simple as the press (and hold) of a button. If you use a Blackberry 7 (and below) device, that button is the space bar. For Nokia S40 devices it’s the centre button.
For touchscreen devices, you should notice a microphone icon that wasn’t there before – left of the text-box area on Windows Phone 8 and Blackberry 10; right of the text-box area on Symbian Belle, iOS and Android.
To send a voice message just press and hold down the mic button (or space bar or centre button, depending on your platform) and start talking. Once you’re done, release the button and your message is sent. Simple.
You can tell if the recipient has played your voice message – the small mic icon on the attached message changes blue
If you change your mind about the message while recording, cancelling is easy. To cancel on touchscreen, whilst still holding down the mic button, slide your finger left (for Symbian Belle touchscreen, Android and iOS) or right (for Blackberry 10 and Windows Phone 8).
Cancelling voice messages on non-touchscreen devices is a bit tricky but still easy. On Nokia S40, you have to release and immediately tap the centre button, while for Symbian Belle phones you have to tap the end-call button. For Blackberry devices, it’s a long press of the end-call button, rather than a tap
I’m quite impressed that 45-man staffed WhatsApp Inc were able to roll-out this feature update simultaneously on all platforms. I’m also quite impressed with the ease of use, especially on touchscreen phones. I can already imagine people using it to send messages back and forth like a walkie-talkie. Especially those who are ever so lazy to type, they’d probably never type a message again.
Of course, in comparison with BBM’s voice calling (not be confused with voice notes which are essentially the same thing), WhatsApp’s voice messaging is not in real-time. But at least, you don’t have to wait till you can connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot before initiating voice conversations with friends.