WhatsApp could add voice calling very soon

New translation requests picked up by Windows Phone Central show that voice calling could be just around the bend.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

WhatsApp users may not have to wait much longer for the chance to make phone calls directly from the app.

Volunteers who translate the Hindi language received new translation requests this past week, according to a tip received by Windows Phone Central. Text strings seen in the translations point to such voice calling options as "Hang up," "Incoming call," and "Outgoing call." Those strings are a sign that the design of the voice calling feature is in progress and could be reaching the finish line.

The timing would jibe with a promise made by WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum at Mobile World Congress. In February, Koum revealed that the app would add voice calling to its repertoire in the second quarter of this year.

Available as a mobile app for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry, WhatsApp lets users send instant messages to each other across different mobile platforms without having to pay their carriers for the privilege. The app already offers the ability to send recorded messages to other people. Actual voice calling would be the next step and a big one as it would turn WhatsApp into competition for such online call providers as Skype and Viber.

Screenshots leaked last month by blog iPhoneItalia purportedly revealed a beta version of WhatsApp for iPhone with a new display for making phone calls.

WhatsApp currently weighs in at around 465 million active users. Facebook generated a lot of buzz in the tech world in February after it announced it was paying $19 billion to acquire the company behind WhatsApp.