VoIP has been in the news recently following Airtel’s decision to charge users for making VoIP calls. Just this week, Dutch technology website Androidworld.nl released images of what the long rumoured calling feature on WhatsApp would look like. An official confirmation of the same has yet to be received from the company.
The website seems to have got the screenshots from the web version of WhatsApp and not the one available on the Play Store. This is likely as the web version usually gets updated more frequently and often includes features which are still being tested. Analyzing the images gives some interesting ideas about what the calling feature could look like.
One thing that seems clear is that the Call interface (including call log, dial screen, contacts menu, etc.) will be different from the Chat interface though from the images it seems that missed call alerts will be delivered on the Chat interface. One of the photos also hints at a voicemail feature. GSMArena has also hazarded a guess that it could come with a call recording feature, though at this point it is anyone’s guess what the exact features will be.
As with any new feature that is in testing phase, the final product might turn out to be quite different but these leaked images at least show that a Call feature is definitely on the cards.
WhatsApp is the most used mobile messaging platform in the world having in excess of 600 million active users globally with about 70 million in India itself. Competitors like Viber, Hike, Line, etc. already have a voice call feature and an addition of this feature on WhatsApp could help it draw more users away from the others.
It is not known whether the feature will be free to use though it is safe to assume that this might be the case, at least for the first year or so. Facebook has stated that it has no plans to monetize WhatsApp in the near future; a sentiment that was reiterated by COO Sheryl Sandberg during a recent investor call.