Discord is revamping its Android app in the coming weeks so that new features and updates come simultaneously on iOS and desktop.
If you’re a Discord Android user, you’re likely used to seeing new features not emerge for months after they were announced on iOS. We caught that most recently, the Server Profiles feature was available on iOS way before Android.
“Historically, work on the Android execution of new features would often be delayed until desktop and iOS were completed. Consequently, it has resulted in some features that launched first on one platform before eventually anchoring on another, ” the Discord product team explains in a blog post.
Discord is swapping React Native for its Android app, allowing the company to simultaneously roll out new features across every platform. It also means that the creation of Discord on Android will more closely resemble what you’re used to noticing on desktop or even iOS.
React Native is broadly used across many popular mobile apps, including Instagram, Microsoft Outlook, Shopify, Tesla, Pinterest, and many more. In addition, Discord has been using React Native for its iOS app since it was open-sourced by Meta in 2015, authorizing the company to create its iOS app from the core of its React app.
The activity to React Native on Android will also create Discord features and design more consistent across Android, iOS, and desktop. For example, while the Discord Android app will still keep some detailed customizations, things like font dimensions will be aligned between Android and iOS.
“Android users will also appreciate the benefits of faster app update release cycles,” illustrates Discord. “React Native permits us to streamline and consolidate our processes, enabling our engineers to work more efficiently and push out updates repeatedly, especially now that the team won’t spend as much time maintaining different codebases for additional devices.”
Discord has already initiated rolling out its updated Android app, so Android users should begin to feel the advantage of this underlying codebase change over the coming weeks. And hopefully, it should mean we’ll never witness another “coming soon to Android” message for future Discord features.
Standard Discord Features
Discord is built to create and handle private and public communities. It provides users access to tools focused on communication services like persistent chat rooms, voice and video calls, and integrations with other gamer-focused services, along with the general ability to send direct messages and create private groups. Although Discord services may initially seem headed only toward gamers, several new updates have made it more useful for the general population in recent years.
Discord communities are categorized into discrete collections of channels called servers. Although they are directed as servers on the front end, they are called “guilds” in the creator documentation. Users can create servers for free, drive their public visibility, and build voice channels, text channels, and categories to sort the channels into. Any assigned server can have up to 800,000 members.
Discord lets game developers and publishers verify their servers. Verified servers, such as verified accounts on social media sites, have badges to keep them as official communities. A verified server is reconciled by its developers’ or publishers’ moderation team. Verification was extended in February 2018 to possess esports teams and musical artists.
Members can support servers to obtain bonuses in three levels via the “Server Boost” feature, which opens higher quality voice channels, better emoji slots, and other perks. Users can purchase boosts for servers for $4.99 a month. For example, “Discord Nitro” subscribers get two boosts incorporated into the cost of Nitro and 30% off for additional boosts. In addition, Discord unveiled a new feature known as “Community servers.” It includes features like a custom welcome screen, server insights, and the ability to advertise on Discord’s Server Discovery page.
Channels may be employed for voice chat and streaming or instant messaging and file sharing. The visibility and key to channels can be customized to limit access from specific users; for example, marking a channel “NSFW” requires that first-time viewers verify they are over 18 years old and willing to witness such content.
Text channels sustain some rich text using Markdown-like syntax, e.g., *text* to emphasize text and ||text|| notation for inline spoilers. Code alliances with language-specific highlighting can also be used.
Discord founded Stage Channels in May 2021, a feature comparable to Clubhouse is allowing live, moderated channels for discussions, audio talks, and other uses, which can be potentially gated to only invited or ticketed users. Initially, users could explore open Stage Channels appropriate to their interests through a Stage Discovery tool, which was discontinued in October 2021.
Discord launched Threads, which are brief text channels that can be set to disappear automatically. It is meant to help foster more communication within Servers.
Direct messages in Discord allow users to share files, send messages, live stream their screen, and call others privately outside servers. An added element in Discord direct messages is the ability to create message groups of up to 10 users. It operates similar to a server’s text channel, with the capacity to initiate a call simultaneously for all the associates in a direct message pack.
Users enlist for Discord with an email address and must form a username. To permit multiple users to use the same username, they are allocated a four-digit number anointed a “discriminator” with “#,” which is added to the end of their username.
Discord lets users connect various external platforms to their accounts, including Steam, Reddit, Twitch, Twitter, Spotify, Xbox, PlayStation, and YouTube. In addition, these accounts can optionally be shown on the user’s profile.
Users can assign themselves a profile picture. In addition, subscribers for Discord Nitro, part of Discord’s monetization plan, can use animated profile pictures.
In June 2021, Discord counted a component that allows all users to add an about me block to their profile and a custom-colored banner at the edge of their profile. In addition, subscribers for Discord Nitro include the added ability to upload a static or animated pic as their banner instead of a solid color.
Video Calls and Streaming
Video calling and screen sharing were included in October 2017, allowing users to create private video calls with up to 10, which later increased to 50 due to the increased popularity of video calling during the pandemic. In August 2019, this was augmented with live streaming channels on servers. Users can share their entire screen or a specific application, and others in that channel can choose to watch the stream. While these features somewhat mimic the live streaming capabilities of platforms like Twitch, the company does not intend to compete with these services, as these features were made for small groups.