Now boasting more than 700 million users, the wildly popular messaging service owned by Facebook is expanding beyond simple texting. Whatsapp launched its first desktop web client two weeks ago, and voice calling could be the next step.
The feature was first spotted by Reddit user pradnesh07 who posted about it a thread that has since been deleted. The latest version of Whatsapp for Android is required, but the availability of the feature seems to be enabled on a per-user basis, and you will also need to receive a Whatsapp call in order to activate it. In other words, you will need to receive a call from someone who already has the feature in order to be able to do voice calls. Think of it as an invite system.
Over at XDA, folks found a way to activate the feature on rooted phones, but the caveat is you will still need to receive a call first. You can try your luck on the forums, but we don’t recommend posting your phone number in the open.
When the feature is enabled, Whatsapp features three tabs at the top for Calls, Chats, and Contacts. Using the calling feature looks to be very straightforward, as you can see from the screenshots at the top.
Handling voice calls for a 700 million user base requires tons of data center capacity, so Whatsapp will probably roll out this feature in waves. For now, the company has made no official announcement on the expected availability of Whatsapp voice calls.