It has been almost a year since we know that Whatsapp is working on integrating voice calling service to its messaging app. However, we never really had an idea as to how it would appear. Well, we have a few screenshots now.
Sander Tuit from Dutch blog AndroidWorld, has created screenshots, by extracting raw data from the source code of a recent Whatsapp build available on its website. Most of the times, the version that is available through WhatsApp’s website is updated more frequently and often contains hidden features than the ones in company’s actual apps available on various app stores.
The screens projected by Tuit through the raw data indicate that the voice calling function is pretty separate from the chatting function, with different screens meant for dialling, call logs, and contacts. The report also points out to an ability within the app which enables the user to listen to previous conversations ,again.
This function is clearly unofficial as the company makes no mention of it. Probably, the app must’ve been at a test end of sorts for the feature. The voice-calling feature is still under the development stage and might roll out in the first quarter of 2015. The introduction of the feature will be a straight challenge to Line, Viber and Skype that offer similar services.
CEO of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Jan Koum, in October confirmed that the voice calling feature was in works, but had revealed the release would be delayed till early 2015. He said the firm still has several technical issues to overcome before it can successfully launch seamless voice calling. Koum noted issues like how the app doesn’t have access to microphones on certain smartphones to properly enable noise cancellation.
As far as availability and pricing goes, Facebook has made it clear that, for the time being, the service will be available free of cost and no ads will pop up within the application. Line and Viber offer a similar service and without any charges. Whatsapp, in future, will have to run its voice calling feature entirely free of cost if it is really considering to tackle other voice-call offering applications.
Whatsapp at present has over 600 million active users and the figure is likely to rise soon as smartphone markets within emerging countries are projected to grow at a surging pace.