After plenty of speculation and no small dose of healthy skepticism online, WhatsApp has finally rolled out a version of the messaging app which allows users to make free data calls to their contacts. It has been an open secret that WhatsApp has been carrying out extensive beta tests for the larger part of this year in order to ensure the app is up to scratch.
As we reported last month, the company rolled out the feature on an invites-only basis back in March. The calls feature must have impressed enough as now any user of WhatsApp can download the latest version of the app from their favorite stores and enjoy calling free of charge.
The free calls feature brings App at par with other personal messaging apps like Skype, Google Hangouts (formerly in the Guise of Google Talk) or Viber. But with WhatsApp in command of such a large share of the market, especially for users with the now ubiquitous Android smartphones, the addition of such a premium value added feature as free data calls will certainly get the competitors scratching their heads what else they can do to offer the consumer viable alternatives.
Which Versions of WhatsApp Support Free Calls?
As noted above, WhatsApp with free calls feature is available for everyone, on all platforms which support the messaging app. This in particular means iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian and Windows Phone.
Where do I get the New Version of WhatsApp with Free Calls Feature?
WhatsApp announced the new version of the app with the free calls feature in the first week of April 2015. Immediately, the upgraded version of the app was available for download on the official WhatsApp website and also all the major smartphone app stores.
If your version is supported you can go to www.whatsapp.com and navigate to the Download Now button. You will be directed to a page with links to download the latest version of the app. Some of the links lead to app stores like Google Play, Apple’s App Store or Windows Marketplace.
Can I download the new WhatsApp on my Tablet Device?
Unfortunately, despite this welcome development, it is not possible to download WhatsApp or, for that matter, use it for making free calls on your tablet device. WhatsApp still insists on their policy of every account being attached to a verifiable cell phone number which limits its use on tablet devices which are not devised to work with a SIM/ USIM card. This means that, for the time being at least, you can only enjoy your WhatsApp experience on a smartphone.
How to Make Free Calls on your WhatsApp
After downloading the app from either your device’s app store or from the WhatsApp website, install it as usual. Once this is done, you will notice that the new WhatsApp interface includes a few key differences. There is now an extra tab denoted “Calls” in addition to the usual two of “Chats” and “Contacts”.
To make a call to a WhatsApp contact, you will have to tap the “New Call” button when viewing their profile. This is pretty similar to the “New Chat” button you are used to in creating a new messaging chat.