WhatsApp has finally opened up its much-anticipated video calling feature for all OS. Starting from November 15, this new feature will be rolled out to users within a few days. Earlier in October, the video-calling feature was up for grabs in the beta version of the messaging app, but only for Android users. WhatsApp had added the voice-calling feature in 2015. There are many other messaging apps which offer the video calling service, but WhatsApp’s incorporation is going to be interesting as it boasts of more than a billion users. In fact, it is surprising that with its resources and technical knowledge, it could only come up with the feature so late.
Video calling is a highly anticipated service on messaging apps. Facebook as always been a revolutionary when it comes to virtual communication, from texts to voice. WhatsApp has rolled out its features with long gaps. After the app launched in 2009, it introduced group chats only in 2011 and voice chat four years after that. Facebook had bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion, and this year has been the most productive for the app, with the addition of end to end encryption, desktop versions, gifs and doodles and much more.
WhatsApp reportedly announced that it has 160 million active users in India. In a statement, WhatsApp said, “…we want to make these features available to everyone, not just those who can afford the most expensive new phones or live in countries with the best cellular networks,” the company said in its announcement, published today.”
The new video calling feature will work on smartphones running on Android 4.1 or above, and in iOS and Windows devices as well. The video-calling feature will work just like WhatsApp voice calls. When the users click on the tiny phone button on a person’s contact, WhatsApp will ask the users if they want to make a voice call or a video call. Users just need to update the app for this new feature to come in it.
WhatsApp will be competing with Hike, Facebook, Microsoft’s Skype, Apple’s FaceTime and the new Google Duo. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum told Reuters that video calls will be rolled out to 180 countries within hours after the feature is introduced at an event in India. Koum said, “We obviously try to be in tune with what our users want. We’re obsessed with making sure that voice and video work well even on low-end phones.” Reuters reported that Koum said that upgradations in phone cameras, battery life and bandwidth had made it possible for a significant part of WhatsApp users, even those using inexpensive smartphones.