WhatsApp launches desktop app

WhatsApp users will now have native access to their conversations on their desktop via the new desktop app.

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp has launched a desktop application that mirrors conversations and messages from a user’s smartphone device.

The new desktop application is available for users running Windows 8 or Mac OS 10.9 and above, and can be synced with WhatsApp on a user’s mobile device.

In a blog post, WhatsApp said that because the app runs natively on the desktop, it can support desktop notifications and keyboard shortcuts.

At the start of the year, the company removed its $1-a-year subscription fee as an attempt to look for new ways to connect with its users.

The company promised it would not introduce third-party ads to make up for the revenue shortfall.

A month later, WhatsApp announced it was dropping support for BlackBerry OS as well as BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40, and Nokia Symbian S60. The company also said it was dropping support for Android version 2.1 and 2.2, and Windows Phone 7.1.

“While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future,” WhatsApp said at the time.

WhatsApp was recently caught up in an ongoing battle with telecom regulators across the world. South Africa’s two largest telcos, MTN and Vodacom, wanted to see over the top services regulated, while Brazil’s telcos were particularly disgruntled by WhatsApp offering voice call functionality and sought to have WhatsApp declared illegal.

Another ban was placed on WhatsApp at the start of the month in Brazil, which was overturned three days later, after Facebook failed to provide police access to users’ data for a criminal investigation. The police had requested for a conversation that took place in a WhatsApp messaging group, as well as other data that included geolocation.

As of February 1, Whatsapp has 1 billion monthly active users.

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