WhatsApp is one of the most popular text based instant messenger apps around at the moment, with recent user figures saying that the service has over 700 million users globally. The WhatsApp app runs on Android and iOS, as well as Windows Phone operating systems on mobiles and tablets, as well as a recently released desktop version for PCs.
However, the app could be gearing up for a voice calling feature, with some Android users selected to trial the feature. The app has been upgraded to include voice calling on some Android phones, but it’s not yet fully known how the selection process has been undertaken and how users have managed to get hold of the feature.
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Users in India posted their versions of the feature on Reddit recently, with several users in that area reporting the inclusion of the feature on devices using Android. Voice calling has been seen to include the usual features on WhatsApp, such as speakerphone and mute settings. However, the release may have been unintentional as the version is currently pretty buggy.
At the moment all we’ve got to go on with regards to how the final feature might look is this video below that has been making the rounds. It’s not all too obvious as to how genuine the content is, but it certainly does look like the app is able to make calls.
WhatsApp hasn’t confirmed the inclusion of the feature just yet, official channels are not saying anything about it currently. The company’s CEO Jan Koum had previously stated that there could be voice calling included on the app in the future, and additionally users have reported seeing the feature appear on previous occasions.
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If WhatsApp does roll out voice calls globally, it could be a serious competitor with similar services such as Skype, as well as a potential thorn in the side of phone companies, as the potential to use the app as a phone replacement does exist, although traditional call functions would still be a necessity for phone users to communicate with non users of the app.
It’s not clear how the feature might affect pricing of WhatsApp, which currently is offered for free for the first year of use and thereafter costs only a small amount for the next year of usage and the years following. Voice calling may be introduced as an add-on feature to the app and might cost extra on top of the traditional text messaging the app offers.
Via: The Telegraph