A new WhatsApp for Android update with support for quick replies via notifications is now available to select users. The new feature is only available in the latest version 2.12.560 which is currently available to beta testers who've signed up on Google Play.
WhatsApp for Android v2.12.560 is not available yet via the regular Google Play listing, or WhatsApp website. The new version lets users quick reply to messages right from the notification panel. Also new, is improved contextual options for contacts, and a new wallpaper selector.
After the update, users will see no difference in the notification alert when a message arrives. However, on expanding the specific notification bar, an option to 'Reply' will now be seen below the notification.
On tapping the 'Reply' option users would see a full screen quick reply overlay along with a dialogue box and keyboard at the bottom for typing out a reply. The quick reply feature sends the reply without opening the app. Users can also tap on the message to open the full conversation in the app. Notably, an update to the WhatsApp for iPhone (v2.12.16) available earlier this month added the ability to quick reply to in-app notifications.
WhatsApp is not the only app offering the quick reply to notifications feature as Google's Hangouts app also added the same feature in January.
WhatsApp for Android v2.12.560 brings a couple of other options as well (via Android Police). The improved contextual options for contacts are visible both in the Chats and Contacts tabs. Users can now tap on the profile picture or group image of any conversation to bring up contextual options, rather than long-tapping on the last message. Depending on the type of conversation or contact selected, users get corresponding contextual options. If users select multiple chats at once, they will only get contextual options that correspond to all the chats.
Finally, the wallpaper selector now features revamped icons, a new name for Documents (now called Gallery), and, a solid colour option.
WhatsApp for Android received an update earlier this month that brought text formatting, improved file sharing, and more. The update allowed users to format text inside messages as bold and italics. The update also allowed Android users to send pdf files not only from the device storage but from Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive accounts as well.