Kik CEO: “We’ll Support Windows Phone When WebKit Support is Added to WP8″

We’ve been getting a lot of questions here on TruTower regarding Kik Messenger‘s support of the Windows Phone platform, or lack thereof. The app has gone more than a year and a half without an update, even after Kik’s HTML5-coded Cards were launched on iOS and Android platforms last year. Unfortunately, it looks like it might be some time more before an update will come to Microsoft’s mobile OS.

The reason? Well it’s actually quite simple, really. Kik Messenger CEO Ted Livingston told us in a phone interview that the application hasn’t been updated due to Microsoft‘s decision to shrug off support for the Webkit engine in the new Windows Phone 8 OS.

Webkit is an open source HTML5 rendering engine that both iOS and Android do support, but Windows Phone does not, instead supporting the IE rendering engine which arguably makes it more difficult for third-party developers to port their Card-based apps across.

Livingston said it’s “not fair to developers to ask them to support WP” when it would require extra and unnecessary work to port the Card-based features to Windows Phone that are already openly supported by both iOS and Android. Webkit has been a popular demand by users of Windows Phone who wish to use 3rd-party web browsers such as Opera on their favorite platform. Kik’s Card-based apps such as the popular Squared game fall neatly into this category even though they aren’t all technically web browsers.

There is some silver lining to this, however. It’s possible that Windows Phone 8.1 will bring Webkit support with it, and should that happen, Kik users on the platform will get the update they’ve been wanting for so long.

“If Microsoft puts Webkit on Windows Phone,” Livingston told us, “we’ll develop for [the platform].”

Livingston said that Kik wanted to “do what’s best for the user” and having a unified standard across all platforms would certainly improve the user experience. It can be argued that Microsoft’s choice of not supporting the WebKit engine left a gaping hole in the world’s third most popular OS that many users feel was a big mistake from the beginning. With Kik Messenger, Opera, and other developers unable to port WebKit-based apps to the platform, it makes it that much harder for third-party support to come to the world of Live Tiles.

For now, make sure you have the latest Kik version for WP8 downloaded on your device and hopefully we’ll see a new update come soon. Stay up to date on the latest news and make you Kik experience even better by visiting our official Kik Messenger page!

  • PrideLand

    Didn’t Google just fork the Webkit so now there are two completely different code paths. And isn’t Webkit implemented differently so that it functions and renders differently depending on OS and version of browser? So, Kik is able to recode to different rendering engines when it wants to. It is just playing industry politics.

    • adam4348

      I guess the only choice is to switch to one of the competitors. There are plenty featured on this very site too. No reason to stick with Kik if they’re going to shrug off their users.

    • TreyP

      I wish a 3rd party developer could just hack the Kik API or something so they can design their own version with HTMl5 support. I find many 3rd party apps are better than 1st party official apps anyway.

    • AnnaThomas

      So basically Kik users on WP and Android are screwed.

  • PrideLand

    BTW Webkit is NOT the internet standard or a standard of any kind. It is just an open source rendering engine that various companies take, modify as they see fit, and make somewhat incompatible versions of it in their products.

  • TreyP

    I switched from Kik because it doesn’t work right on WP and I guess this is why. I had to open the app up in order to get my messages. Windows Phone is the best platform out there, so I would think it would be worth a small modification to get it to the mass of users.

  • AnnaThomas

    That’s ok I’m switching to Whatsapp :)

  • Joel May

    After all of Microsoft’s hard work of overhauling Internet Explorer 9 and newer, you think they are just going to ditch that hard work and switch to a rendering engine developed partly by Apple? To me that sounds add crazy as asking Microsoft to replace the Windows kernel with the Linux kernel so you can run Linux binaries.