After finally launching the much awaited web client for the Android users, WhatsApp is apparently now rolling out the voice calling feature they had promised.
The calling feature is only available on the Android so far. A WhatsApp user posted some screenshots of the feature on Reddit. It appears that it only works on the latest WhatsApp version 2.11.508 on the Android 5.
One user claimed that users who are running a combination of the latest WhatsApp version and Android 5 will not be able to get the voice calling feature unless they get a call from someone else that has the feature activated. This means that the roll out will be slow and invite based.
The user goes on to point out that those who activate the feature in the aforementioned manner whereby they receive a call from someone with the feature enabled will not be able to place calls to other people.
Before proceeding with the description of the user interface as seen in the screenshots, it is worth noting that WhatsApp has not made any official announcement about the launch of voice calling. If reports are anything to go by, the feature is still in testing. This explains the manner in which it has been rolled out. The above mentioned user goes on to explain that they were only able to activate the feature after they had received a WhatsApp call themselves.
The screen shots published on Reddit show that WhatsApp now has an additional “calls” tab at the top alongside the “chat” and “contacts” tabs. It appears that users will be able to make a call to their WhatsApp contacts with the “New Call” button. This is similar to the current “New Chat” button. There are users who are reporting that they can only see a list of apps that include Google dialer at this point. They can only place the call with this app as they do not have a WhatsApp calling option.
There was also an upload on Reddit of a video of the feature in action.
In the video, it seems as though those with a fully working call feature will have a standard calling interface. There will be a disconnect button above the speaker, mute and message buttons. Beyond the call history on the calls tab, no other screenshots were shared. A screenshot of the in call interface would have come in handy.
The interesting thing is that the WhatsApp voice calling user interface screenshots are similar to those found sometime back within WhatsApp for Android. It is worth noting that the screenshot found in the Android phones were not functional.
While the news of WhatsApp finally releasing a calling feature is exhilarating, it is best to take all unofficial reports with a pinch of salt. WhatsApp has promised that the feature will be ready this year and it has phone operators worried. Telecom operators are already angling for a dip in their profits, but they will not go down without a fight.