WhatsApp calling feature is under wraps still as many users and fans of WhatsApp chat feature are eagerly awaiting to see the new feature.
To test the new calling feature, WhatsApp has made a brief entry in some Android phones on selective basis, said Android Police. The calling feature was activated for some and they could pass on invitation to their friends by making a WhatsApp call. But soon the feature was deactivated by WhatsApp.
The caller icon suddenly appeared for some users with WhatsApp version 2.11.528 from the Play Store or 2.11.531 from WhatsApp website. They could make a call to their friends and pass on the invite, which was reportedly limited to someone who already had the calling feature activated in his mobile phone.
It means only those who have activated the new WhatsApp calling feature can make calls to their friends as FaceBook-owned WhatsApp has disabled the invitation feature. It is reportedly testing its servers when the icon appeared on some phones, added the report.
In India, a Reddit user pradnesh07 reported that the feature was activated on his phone and he posted its image on the discussion forum. [http://www.microfinancemonitor.com/2015/02/01/whatsapp-rolling-out-beta-version-of-free-voice-calls-on-invite-only-basis-amid-access-problems/]
“The guy who sent me the invite confirmed that it works on other phones on other roms and other OS and in other countries. I am not sure how the invite thing works as yet,” wrote pradesh07.”
He, however, made a quick video and asked users to share it instead of bugging him to send an invite. “There is no use asking me for invites right now, I don’t know how this invite thing works exactly,” he himself noted at the end.
In addition, BGR India claimed that it received the invitation and made calls too explaining that the voice-calling feature can be noticed with an icon next to Chats, Contacts of WhatsApp tab. The App also keeps a record of past calls via WhatsApp, it said.
Though there are other messenger apps like Viber, Hike, Skype, and Line, which provide voic calling feature, WhatsApp entering the arena has sent chill down the private phone service providers in the country including Airtel, Aircel and Reliance.
With more than 70 million users of WhatsApp feature in India for instant chat, the voice calling feature is likely to take off, if not become as widely used as its chat service that is more popular and preferred by users, especially women and students.
While the WhatsApp VOIP feature beta version is making sudden apperances on some phones, here are some features observed by app users and developers:
Firstly, it is confined to Android Lollipop 5.0 version and was successfully used by a Nexus 5 smartphone user, accessible via the new version 2.11.508 of the WhatsApp.
Secondly, WhatsApp is still testing the beta version and not in a hurry to push its VOIP feature pending the TRAI’s reaction.
Thirdly, WhatsApp Calling Feature is not available through Google Play Store, but can be downloaded only from the official WhatsApp website on INVITE. The lucky invitees are able to access it and install on their smartphones, and notice a new icon next to chats and contacts tabs.