If you are one of them who is eagerly waiting on WhatsApp’s calling feature, there is probably some more waiting period in line. The most popular messaging service in India with over 700 million active users (as of Jan 2015) is set to roll out free internet calling feature for its Android audience but you can still only get this feature on your Android smartphone if one of your WhatsApp friend calls you through the internet call function of the messaging app.
Unfortunately, the mode of invitation for other Android users to use the calling feature is not working. On Feb 20, Friday, many Android users were able to get their voice calling feature activated as soon as they received calls from someone using the service on their WhatsApp. This allowed them to call other Android or Blackberry users from their WhatsApp calling functionality, but the facility was available to only some initial testers and others could not activate it on their phones. Whether this is because WhatsApp has set a certain limit to the number of users you can invite if you have activated the call service on your phone, or only some are able to test the feature by calling their friends and family.
Those of using iPhones may have to wait even longer as though the messaging app has launched a separate icon in the chat window for iOS, it will take time until WhatsApp is finally ready to introduce the calling feature on the Apple devices. Even Windows phones are in the queue for getting this function available.
If you have been lucky enough to activate the free calling feature on Whatsapp, you are sure to view three separate screens facilitated only for your call usages- one for dialling voice calls, another for maintaining a WhatsApp contact list and the third is for keeping your call history of incoming, outgoing, received and missed calls. You also have a call icon on your chat window just next to the attachment icon, on clicking which you will be able to access icons for loudspeaker, mute call and switching back to the chat window.
The feature has not been launched officially and WhatsApp has also not declared the day when it will roll out the function. WhatsApp has since disable the invite feature too. As per reports, Android users with the version 2.11.528 downloaded from the Play Store or 2.11.531 taken from WhatsApp website could witness the call icon on their app service and could even invite their friends onto the function, for them to further activate the service, provided they too have the versions mentioned above. People using older versions of WhatsApp are also being notified to update their apps to the newer version so that they can avail the call function sent by their friends.
A news site called BGR India has further claimed to have received a WhatsApp call from the app’s head in India, Neeraj Arora, and stated in its website that the call quality on 3G and EDGE has been good as 3G services provide for better audio quality. Seems like WhatsApp wanted to test its 2G and 3G network functions which is why it facilitated the call function for some Android users.
All said and done, one thing is for sure: WhatsApp has directly challenged Viber, Line and WeChat by introducing this feature, keeping in mind the immense popularity of the instant messaging app.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the messaging app service with so wide a user base is able to test its call service with respect to audio quality, network coverage and its compatibility with different operating systems soon and we are able to avail the call function sooner on our WhatsApp service!
Hope this time it is only permanent and not for a few hours like it happened for a few Android users!