WeChat’s closed beta update for its Android app has shown what could possibly be in store for users of the platform in the not-too-distant future.

The update of Android’s 6.6.7 beta version displays an overhauled user interface of Moments, Official Accounts, and chat windows. Most changes come in the form of redone status bars. Traditionally, these bars have been a solid gray, but have now been made transparent.

The old version (left) of WeChat Moments compared to the new (right). (Image Credit: Sina Technology)

The same changes can be seen in the QR code scanning interface, in which a thin transparent bar has replaced the broad, solid one in previous versions.

The column on the left shows recently used emojis (Image Credit: Sina Technology)

But it’s not only aesthetic features that have changed. There have been some changes in functionality, specifically within chat windows. Developers have included the option to find recently used emojis, allowing users to quickly discover those that they use regularly. However, testers noticed that this feature only applies to emojis found within WeChat and not on other keyboards.

In the past, the double-tap feature was reserved for enlarging messages for a better view. The update now allows users to forward messages and set reminders while in this view.

WeChat’s dominance in China’s messaging market drove nearly $33 billion of information consumption in 2017, up 30% since 2014. The platform accounts for over 30% of China’s total data traffic. The app is responsible for RMB 191 billion in data consumption, 2.2 times higher than in 2014.

Christopher Udemans is TechNode's former Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covered Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, cleantech, and cybersecurity.

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