It looks like WhatsApp is all set to rollout the voice calling feature to users of its Android as well as iPhone app. Following reports of the calling feature being included in WhatsApp’s new Android build (2.11.508), the app’s latest iOS update now introduces a calling button within the chat window.
The calling button is placed just next to the contact’s name and profile picture on the top. However, at the moment the app uses the iOS Phone dialler for making an outgoing call. It seems WhatsApp will soon enable native internet calling for users of the iOS app as well.
Interestingly, the changelog of the update does not mention the inclusion of the button. It just mentions addition of support for Dynamic Type (Variable font sizes) throughout the app, and introduction of a quick camera button in chats to quickly insert a recent camera roll picture.
Earlier in the week, a Reddit user had reported that he was able to use the calling feature on his Nexus 5 running Android Lollipop. The screenshots suggested that there would be separate screens for dialing a voice call to WhatsApp contacts, call logs and ongoing calls.
He had also said (citing the person who sent him the invite) that voice calling will not be activated for all and users will only be able to get the voice calling feature if someone who has it enabled calls them through WhatsApp similar to an invite system.
It’s worth pointing out that WhatsApp has not announced the rollout of the feature yet. Perhaps, it’s still testing the feature with select users.
Last year, WhatsApp had announced that it soon plans to roll out voice calling feature for its users. In December, a few screenshots of the feature had leaked.
According to WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum, the delay in rolling out voice calling feature was due to technical hurdles that developers were facing. He had said that the service had been delayed till Q1 2015, speaking at an industry conference in October.
The voice calling feature will bring WhatsApp in direct clash with apps like WeChat, Viber and Line that already allow users to make calls and send messages. WhatsApp is the biggest instant messaging app in the world, with 700 million active users in January 2015.