Microsoft has published its own 'ephemeral messaging' app WindUp, offering Windows Phone users its take on Snapchat.
Spotted by Neowin, Microsoft Research has released WindUp for Windows Phone 8 and 8.1, giving users pretty much the same time-capped messages that Snapchat has become famous for, but without the app's newer live video chat feature.
According to the app's description, the app lets Windows Phone users "create and share fun, temporary messages and media with friends", including pictures, videos, audio snippets, and text. Like Snapchat, the message expires according to a time limit set by the user.
Microsoft chose the name WindUp because a timer interface on the app can spice up a message add a little competitive tension. "Set a low limit to "wind up" your friends as they race to see what you've posted, or set the limit high to make your message last longer," says Microsoft Research.
It's not clear why Microsoft Research, which investigates everything from social science to machine learning, developed the app. It does have a number of apps to its name on the Windows Store, including Socl, a social network initially aimed at university students that eventually opened up to anyone.
While Microsoft may see opportunities for itself in the messaging app space, another possible reason for WindUp's creation is that Snapchat isn't yet available on Windows Phone and some of the platform's users are upset about having to make do with unofficial versions of the messaging app. There's even a Snapchat for Windows Phone 8 Facebook community page (with 5,300 likes) which aims to pester Snapchat developers into building it.
According to an AMA this May on Reddit with Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's design lead for Windows Phone hardware, the company is "talking" with Snapchat about getting the app to its OS. But until those talks bear fruit, Windows Phone users are left with a choice between unofficial Snapchat versions or WindUp.