Facebook's WhatsApp for Android Serves Up Voice Calls

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 31, 2015

Back when Facebook announced its acquisition of WhatsApp for $16 billion last year, some people were scratching their heads at why WhatsApp would command that price. According to Sequoia Capital: "By using the Internet as its communications backbone, WhatsApp has completely transformed personal communications, which was previously dominated by the world’s largest wireless carriers." The company added that WhatsApp has more than 450 million active users--nothing to shake a stick at.

Now, another important shoe is dropping in the WhatsApp story, as its move to support voice-calls is coming to fruition, as news arrives that users on Android can now make calls in-app to other WhatsApp users.

WhatsApp announced plans to deliver voice calls early in 2014, and over the past several months, the capability began showing up in some Android users’ apps. Now the feature is available to anyone who received a call from another WhatsApp user who had voice-calls unlocked.

Once updated, the app now provides a new tab that allows you to dial friends at the same time you are texting them. That could make the app competitive with applications like Skype, popular for face- and voice-based hangouts.

According to VentureBeat:

"Some reports suggest that the latest official version on Google Play brings the voice-call feature automatically, however based on our tests it was necessary to upgrade to version 2.12.19 directly from the WhatsApp website."

Once this is all working smoothly, WhatsApp promises to be another social path for Facebook to explore as it connects millions of people. Many Android users will want to try the new features out.