WhatsApp has for a long time been one of the “go to” messenger applications of choice, regardless of whatever mobile platform. WhatsApp is available for classic and modern BlackBerry, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone platforms. It allows people to send short messages, videos and video clips via the Internet connection and is one of the applications that truly makes the world a smaller (and cheaper) place to be if you have friends and family living overseas. Indeed, WhatsApp has been directly blamed by several carriers for causing text message revenues to drop; in other words, because so many people have switched from conventional and per-message charged text messages to the WhatsApp platform, where we can pay for a years worth of the service at a time, it was causing mobile carrier profits to end. I remember speaking with a senior manager at the carrier where I worked about this very issue in 2011 and explaining that customers wouldn’t forever believe that it cost ten pence to send a text message!
An eagle-eyed Reddit user has spotted a new Calls folder appearing on his Android device after receiving an update directly from WhatsApp. The WhatsApp Chief Executive Officer promised that the application would gain voice calling about a year ago but there has been no material movement in this respect. I would suppose that WhatsApp’s management team have been worried about the takeover by Facebook to devote much of their time to developing the application and this is a pity, but hopefully it’s behind them now. We’ve also seen WhatsApp developing a non-smartphone version of the application, which appears to integrate into the smartphone version and has left some users disappointed.
Adding voice calling to WhatsApp will be a good if not overdue move, and something else that will erode one of the traditional revenue streams from the mobile carriers around the world. It’ll make the world a smaller place; the costs of international calling has been coming down. We’re not sure how WhatsApp will price voice calling, if there will be a limit to the number of voice minutes that may be used during a month, but we are certain that it will be cheaper than the majority of mobile carriers’ rates. And as the folder has only just started to appear, it seems that voice calling functionality may only be days away. If you use WhatsApp, are you excited for the new feature and will this increase how much you use WhatsApp? Or had you already given up on waiting for the application to enable voice and have switched to a different platform? Let us know in the comments below.