Shortly after being acquired by Facebook for a mere $16 billion, popular messaging service WhatsApp has announced plans to add voice services in the second quarter of this year. WhatsApp's now larger-than-465-million-userbase will be able to not only send each other text and picture images, but actually be able to call each other. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum made the announcement at MWC, as reported by TechCrunch:
“We use the least amount of bandwidth and we use the hell out of it,” [Koum] said. “We will focus on simplicity.” Voice will come to Android and iOS first and then following on some Nokia and BlackBerry phones, he added.
Google's own Hangouts service supports similar features, including a slow but steady integration of the older Google Voice phone service, as well as support video chat. Of course, there are a number of other services that support texts, images, voice calls, and video calls, including Skype, BBM, and Facebook Messenger — though WhatsApp's service has been consistently more lean and focused than the competing offerings from larger companies.
There's no word yet on if the $1/year subscription cost will remain the same once more data-intensive VoIP comes to WhatsApp in the next few months, but we imagine that if there's an increase it probably won't be too bad. What do you think — is WhatsApp voice the VoIP service you've been waiting for?