WhatsApp, according to more than a few industry pundits has taken a fair chunk of the SMS market, now it’s time for voice. In a low key launch, WhatsApp have added voice calling; a move that is sure to impact operators. Apparently the launch is a bit haphazard, but it is being rolling out on Android initially with Apple users to be addresses shortly.
- Android users can finally make voice calls on WhatsApp, thanks to a quiet but major update. The feature has been teased for months, with the update hitting select users a few weeks ago. Now, however, it seems it’s available to all, with the latest version of WhatsApp offering a new, cleaner layout, with three tabs for Calls, Chats, and Contacts. As you’d expect, you simply click the Calls tab and select a contact to chart talking.
- Voice calling for the app should also be coming to iOS in the near future, with WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton commenting at F8 that the feature will be arriving on Apple devices in a “couple weeks.” It should also be noted that these are app-to-app voice calls, unlike previous version of WhatsApp which have allowed users to call contacts by simply switching to their smartphone’s regular mobile services.
Incidentally, WhatsApp is only the second app to reach the One Billion download mark from the Google Play store. The first app is from their parent company, Facebook. WhatsApp revealed in January this year that they had 700M active users on iOS and Android, a number that has surely risen since then.
I guess this will give operators more incentive to roll out their VoLTE services and bank on quality of service as the key differentiator going forward. Time will tell if it is enough to keep the OTT voice callers at bay.