Mobile messaging app WhatsApp will be introducing voice communications later this year. The new feature is likely to be implemented in the second quarter of 2014. The announcement came from Jan Koum, who is the co-founder as well as the chief executive.
Currently, WhatsApp is only a text-based communication app but has the feature of sending a range of similes. The introduction of voice communication will certainly add more punch to the app. WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired for $16 billion, has nearly 465 million members now.
It is understood that apart from adding more features to the app to make it more competitive, the aim of WhatsApp is to push their number of members to more than one billion – the number, which Facebook has already crossed with ease.
Jan Koum was quoted as saying, “We want to make sure people always have the ability to stay in touch with their friends and loved ones really affordably,” Koum said in a speech during the Mobile World Congress.
What makes WhatsApp popular is the ability to send text-based messages even as there is internet connection to a mobile device. The messages are sent based on the mobile numbers of the users. This means it brushes aside the presence of a carrier and also the charges they would have had to pay as in the case of sending a SMS.
The voice service will start with iPhone and Android apps. This will be later expanded some models of the BlackBerry and also for the Windows Phone devices. So, more and more users will be able to take advantage of the voice messaging feature.
The presence and increasing use of WhatsApp has proved to be a thorn for many service providers. Sending voice and text messages were a primary source for many carriers for many years. However, with many people preferring WhatsApp over these services, the revenue for these companies is slowly on the decline.