WhatsApp users with an Android smartphone can now take advantage of the app’s new voice calling feature.
After having previously been available to a small number of users since February as part of its beta testing, free voice calls with WhatsApp is now available to anyone with an Android phone.
WhatsApp has confirmed the voice calls feature is available with WhatsApp version 2.12.19, which is the very latest version of the app. This version is available to download direct from the WhatsApp website but only as an APK file, which can be tricky to install onto your device if you’re not familiar with this kind of file format.
However, the new feature also seems to be available on an older version of WhatsApp (2.12.5) which, at the time of writing, is also the version that is available in the Google Play Store.
We’ve tested the new WhatsApp voice calls feature in the ThaiTech office today on devices running WhatsApp 2.12.5 and the call feature is working.
To access the calls option in WhatsApp is straightforward enough, just open the app as you would do normally and you should see the new ‘Calls’ tab, as shown below.
Launched in 2009, WhatsApp started out as a basic instant messaging app but quickly amassed a huge following, proving popular with both Android and iOS users around the globe.
In 2014, after WhatsApp claimed it had in excess of 400 million active users each month, the service was bought by Facebook for $19 billion. Earlier this year, company CEO Jan Koum said that WhatsApp now has more than 700 million active users.
The addition of a voice calling feature is likely to only increase the popularity of WhatsApp amongst users and also helps to make the app more competitive against the likes of LINE, Viber, WeChat, Skype and Apple’s iMessage/Facetime services.
Whilst WhatsApp voice calls are only available to Android users at present, Venture Beat reported earlier in the week that voice calling on WhatsApp will be available to iOS users in a “couple of weeks.”
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK’s leading watch and horology websites.