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WhatsApp Testing New Voice Calling Feature on Android

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WhatsApp’s long-awaited voice calling feature
looks to be almost upon us after the company seemingly began testing it
among a small number of Android users. A user on Reddit claims voice
calling was enabled on his handset after he received a call from another
tester.

“Pradnesh07? uploaded screenshots that show WhatsApp voice calling in
action, and how it is integrated into the Android app. It appears that
the interface is divided up into three tabs — calls, chats, and contacts
— and switching between them takes just a tap. During a call, there are
options for speakerphone, mute, and to send an instant message.

For now, this appears to be a very limited test. Pradnesh07 reports
that the feature only showed up for him inside the latest beta version
of WhatsApp for Android after he had received a call from another
WhatsApp user who was already testing it.

“A friend of mine called me, I had to answer the call, then force
close it,” he explains. “Some people reported the feature [activated]
after this step but I needed to reinstall the app.” Naturally, the
Reddit thread is now filled with requests from other WhatsApp users who
want Pradnesh07 to call them to activate the feature on their handset.

If you can live without WhatsApp voice calling for just a little
while longer, though, it seems the easiest option is to just wait for
it. WhatsApp is clearly preparing for its release with a limited trial
run, so unless it runs into any issues, a larger rollout to all users
should happen in the very near future.

WhatsApp originally promised us voice calling for the second quarter of 2014,
but CEO Jan Koum revealed back in October that his team had run into
technical issues that had delayed its launch until 2015. The company, which is now owned by Facebook, is hoping to optimize the service so that it runs even on affordable devices in emerging markets with only 2G connectivity.

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