Video Calls Feature in WhatsApp beta
WhatsApp for Android users can now finally enjoy video calls. The latest WhatsApp beta app brings the feature and is currently available to users who are part of the company’s official Android beta testing program. The functionality appears to be working across several beta versions, from v2.16.316 onwards.
The new video calling feature can be accessed via the calls tab. For making a video call, users will have to tap on the dialler icon present alongside the search icon. On pressing the dialler icon, users will get an option to either make a WhatsApp voice call or video call. It’s worth noting that feature will work only when the caller and the recipient are part of the Android beta testing program. In case, the recipient is still using an old version of the app (or is not part of the beta testing program) will get a prompt saying “Couldn’t place call” followed by text, “Couldn’t place call. Recipient [name of contact being called] needs to update WhatsApp to receive video calls.”
WhatsApp video calling feature comes to Android beta
Video calling has been one of the most sought after features in WhatsApp. Earlier this year, WhatsApp had started testing the feature with its Android beta app, but it never saw the light of day. While WhatsApp already lets you make audio calls, the video calling feature was recently rolled out to Windows Phone beta users. Now, the latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android (v2.16.318) shows the video calling feature. Interestingly, rumors had earlier indicated that the video calling feature might be first officially rolled out to iOS and then to Android. Now that the Android beta version already has the video calling feature, it looks like Android users are in for luck and could make video calls before their iOS friends.
The latest beta version of WhatsApp for Android will allow users to place video calls only if the recipient is also using a beta version. Both users need to be on the latest beta version else it shows an error message that reads ‘couldn’t place call.’ It is to be noted that WhatsApp for Android (v2.16.318) is in beta mode and when it is rolled out to the masses, it could come with more features and enhancements. Currently, the version does not show a separate video call icon but once you tap on the call icon it will show you two options of voice call or video call.
One can use either of the front or rear cameras to make a video call. Available options during a video call include audio mute option and message sending. However, if you tap on send a message, it would put the video call on pause. If the video call is disconnected from the other end, users have the options to cancel, call again, or record a voice message – the same options which are currently available for voice calls.
Parent company Facebook is primarily focusing on videos or moving images across its products, from its social media site to slowly extending the video abilities to its messaging platforms including Facebook Messenger and now WhatsApp. While internet-based video calling has long existed since early Yahoo Messenger and Skype days, what differentiates their existence today is the quality, affordability, and easy access of the technology. Bringing the power of video calling from standalone computer cameras to the smartphone cameras is what has seen a remarkable change over the years. With the introduction of video calling through messaging apps, what will evidently follow is minimal data usage that does not compromise on the call quality.