WhatsApp voice calls took the internet world by a storm when the feature was availed earlier on in 2015.
Close to a year down the line, leaks of WhatsApp video calling feature have started doing rounds all over the web, suggesting that the feature might be released in the early days of 2016.
Despite the many leaks, there is no news on when exactly this update will be brought to the chat app. Last year, the voice calling feature made its first appearance on Android devices. It went on to live on this platform for more than a month before it finally showed up on iOS and, later on, Windows Phone.
It seems things will be a little different this year as the first sight of the feature appears to be on iOS. According to reports, the new feature will be able to make use of both cameras – front and rear – during video calls.
As far as WhatsApp is concerned, adding new features to the platform is a norm. The app boasts a user base of more than 900 million people, a figure that makes it almost the same size as its mother company, Facebook. It was just a matter of time before the video calling feature came to WhatsApp given that Facebook Messenger, Facebook’s chat app, already has this feature.
How will WhatsApp video calling perform against Skype?
WhatsApp voice calling came in earlier this year at a time when WhatsApp was boasting of a user base of over 600 million users. However, a few months after the feature was unveiled, the app had recorded a user base of more than 200 million users.
With such huge success, the most natural step was to come in with a video calling feature, but the chat app has delayed this tool until now. The tool comes in a world where there exist household names such as Skype, and it will obviously be very hard to topple the Microsoft-owned app. In fact, some markets where WhatsApp dominates are yet to embrace the voice calling feature due to poor internet connections. It will be very hard for these areas to come to terms with the new video calling feature while still using the same bandwidth.
WhatsApp is very popular in developing nations, but less popular in the U.S. Video calls require much better internet connections than voice calls or even messaging. It is, for this reason, WhatsApp thrives in these areas as a messaging app while Skype thrives in developed nations as a video calling app. However, WhatsApp may take a similar step to what it did with the voice calling feature by introducing a tool that optimizes data usage during such calls. In this way, maybe some users in India and Brazil may get to use the new WhatsApp video calling tool on their smartphones.