WhatsApp is clearly the world's most popular instant messenger and it wishes to be the dominating free voice calling app too.
After months of teasing and rumours about the voice-calling integration into WhatsApp, there's finally some evidence to show the new feature in action. Nothing is officially confirmed but the new voice-calling feature was spotted by some users in India after the app's latest version was side-loaded from the company's official website.
The news of WhatsApp's voice-calling feature erupted with series of screenshots and a video by Redditor Pradnesh Patil aka pradnesh07, spotted by GSM Arena. The Reddit post with the images has since been removed but the video shared on YouTube still exists.
The video shows WhatsApp's fully-blown voice-calling feature carefully integrated without disrupting the interface. There are three separate tabs for calls, chats and contacts. The chat window remains unchanged while the new calls interface is reminiscent to the phone's screen.
There's a red disconnect button, speaker, mute and chat option on the calling screen. The profile image of the person you are calling shows on the screen along with the name. The new tab keeps a record of all your recent WhatsApp calls and time.
Several other users also supported Patil's claims by sharing screenshots of the new feature on Reddit. It is not clear how widespread the roll-out is as all users confirmed the news in Patil's original post, which is removed. The feature is currently being tested within India and by invite-only method. Users can receive invitation from other users who already have the feature active and working. It means a user with a working voice-calling must call another user who has downloaded and installed the updated version.
For those who cannot get an invite from someone must follow these steps to get the updated app. Voice calling is only available in the latest build of WhatsApp version 2.11.508 from the company's website instead of Google Play Store.
How To Sideload WhatsApp 2.11.508
- Go to WhatsApp's download webpage for Android
- Verify version 2.11.508 and click download
- Wait for the APK file(18.5MB) to be downloaded on the PC
- Connect your Android smartphone to PC
- Copy the APK file to one of the device's folders
- Navigate to the stored location and tap on "WhatsApp APK"
- Click Install and then Open
Besides the mandatory invitation from another user, the voice calling works only on Nexus 5 devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop.
"I can't seem to send invites to other people; the only thing I can ensure is that it works in India for people running Lollipop 5.0.x on a Nexus 5. Other Indians without the earlier combo don't get it," Reddit user pradnesh07 wrote.
While WhatsApp hasn't confirmed the rollout, the feature is also likely to embrace other smartphone models and Android versions on official launch.
Watch the video below showing WhatsApp voice-calling feature in action and let us know what you think.