WhatsApp Gets Launcher App Shortcuts in Latest Android Beta

WhatsApp Gets Launcher App Shortcuts in Latest Android Beta

App Shortcuts seen in WhatsApp v2.17.277 beta for Android with Nova Launcher

Highlights
  • The launcher App Shortcuts feature was spotted in version 2.17.77
  • It shows shortcuts for random old chats, and the option to start camera
  • This feature should be fine-tuned before being launched for the masses

WhatsApp is now testing launcher App Shortcuts on Android. These shortcuts allow you to jump to a desired pre-mentioned place in-app as soon as you launch it. As mentioned, this feature was found in the Android beta, and there’s no word on when it will arrive for the general audience using stable builds.

Android Police spotted the App Shortcuts feature first, and the thing about these launcher app shortcuts is that they are quite redundant. Instead of allowing users to do useful things like add a Status directly, or show your frequent or pinned chats, it gives you the option to open the camera, and chats with people you don’t really talk much with.

There is also a shortcut for a ‘New Chat’, but for those who use WhatsApp regularly, would know that a new chat is seldom ever used. Most often than not, we tend to speak to people that are already on our chat screen. We're seeing the feature too, on v2.17.277 for Android, with slight differences - we also see the shortcut for Starred messages.

The App Shortcuts feature was introduced in Android 7.0 Nougat, but, users can access the feature on Android 6.0 Marshmallow as well using compatible launchers like Nova and Action. Nova will also let users assign shorcuts to gestures like swiping the icon. These App Shortcuts can be dragged to become independent shortcuts on your home screen. While that’s a good thing, the redundancy of these shortcuts would make no one give a dedicated space on their screen. In any case, this feature is still being tested, and we presume that WhatsApp will fine-tune it, possible get pinned and frequent chats as shortcuts, rather than just random ones, and think of some clever way to make launcher App Shortcuts really useful.

To download the latest WhatsApp beta for Android version, sign up for the Android Beta Program on Google Play, or you can alternatively download the APK Mirror here.

As of now, WhatsApp already offers native widgets and shortcuts for the home screen, so you can set the camera as a separate shortcut icon, or a favourite person as well. That person’s display picture will show up as an icon logo, instead of an ugly star that is showing up in this launcher app beta feature.

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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com. More
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