Voice calling capability comes to WhatsApp on Android

31 Mar 2015

The latest version of WhatsApp for Android now lets users make voice calls on the service to other WhatsApp users.

Until recently WhatsApp users had the ability to send text, pictures, video and audio messages, but the ability to make in-app voice calls wasn’t available.

WhatsApp was acquired last year by Facebook for US$22bn but pretty much operates as its own independent service.

The new voice calling feature is included in the updated version 2.12.5 of WhatsApp which can be downloaded via the Play Store or by downloading version 2.12.19 directly from the WhatsApp website.

The updated app features a revamped interface that has three tabs – Calls, Chats and Contacts.

To initiate a phone call users just hit on the dialer icon in-chat or by going to calls and selecting a contact to call.

It is understood that an iOS version of the new WhatsApp app will be available in the coming weeks.

WhatsApp boasts more than 700m active users and the app has been downloaded 1bn times on Android alone.

Ukrainian immigrant Jan Koum, now 39, is the driving force, along with WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, behind a revolutionary communications app that charges US$1 a year.

WhatsApp brought in revenues of US$20m last year.

Whatsapp image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years