After an extended beta test, WhatsApp has added a free voice calling feature to its Android app. This makes WhatsApp more competitive against services like Skype, Viber and Apple AAPL +0.56% iMessage/FaceTime. The calling feature on WhatsApp launched for Android last month in beta to a small number of users, followed by availability on an invitation-only basis. Now voice calling is available for every WhatsApp user on Android. WhatsApp Android Application launch Free Voice Calling For Everyone.
The WhatsApp calling feature is available on version 2.12.5, but the Google Play Store currently offers the older version 2.12.19. The older version of WhatsApp enables the calling feature, but app reviewers have reported that it does not work properly yet. This means that there is a bit of extra work necessary if you want access to the calling feature right now. You can download the Android application package (APK) file of WhatsApp version 2.12.5 through the WhatsApp website or an APK Mirror website. After installing the APK file and opening WhatsApp, you will see a new tab for Calls next to the Chats and Contacts tab. Tap on the Calls tab and select the name of the person that you want to call.
WhatsApp launched in 2009 as a simple group text messaging app, but a voice messaging feature was added in August 2013. And then, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in February 2014. By April 2014, WhatsApp was hitting over 500 million monthly active users, 700 million photos shared per day, 100 million videos shared per day and 10 billion messages sent per day. A few months ago, WhatsApp launched a desktop client service called WhatsApp Web — which is activated by Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone or Nokia S60 devices.
When someone calls you from WhatsApp, you will see an incoming WhatsApp call screen. You will be able to tap and slide the green button to answer the call or slide the red button to decline the call. Otherwise, you can tap on the message icon on the call screen to decline the call with a quick message.
The Calls tab has a list of all your incoming, outgoing and missed WhatsApp calls. The WhatsApp calling feature lets you switch to speakerphone, mute the call and view the time spent during the call. It is worth mentioning that you cannot access 911 and other emergency service numbers through WhatsApp.
WhatsApp’s calling feature does not come as a surprise. Last year, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum said that voice calling will be added to WhatsApp. First it would roll out on Android and iPhones. This would be followed by Windows Phone and certain BlackBerry models. Last week, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton specifically said that the voice calling feature will be added to the iOS app within the next few weeks. WhatsApp spent the last year refining the voice calling feature before it was released on Android.
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