It is very likely that a WhatsApp video call feature would become part of the messaging app very soon. Or on the other hand, Facebook, the owners of WhatsApp are not ready to introduce the WhatsApp video call feature just yet. It all depends if you are glass half full optimist or a glass half empty pessimist. I have very strong feelings about a feature like that, but lets first look at the online buzz concerning the WhatsApp video call feature.
There is a somewhat confusing timeline to this feature coming to WhatsApp. The WhatsApp video call feature actually made an appearance in the app last year January in Android devices. IOS devices also got the feature a few months later. However the button for video call is not separate from the voice call. To access the video call feature, you have to long press the call icon. It was a false down though for the feature, as what was thought to be a general roll out was just a test feature that did not even work very well. That was in version 2.16.80 of the app.
In the latest beta version of WhatsApp, version 2.16.81, the WhatsApp video call feature appears to have being removed. And it is in this version that the video call feature is no longer available. That means if you are lucky to be one of the beta tests of the app, a tap of the call icon would not show the video call option. The bottmline is, in case you got slightly confused, video calling feature is not part of the latest WhatsApp upgrade.
Now, you can read this in two ways. If your are the glass half full sort of guy, you would say that the WhatsApp video call feature was removed because the developers wanted to tweak it away from the public view before finally releasing a fully functional video call feature. On the hand, if you are the half empty kind of fellow, you would conclude with certainty that the video feature is not coming to WhatsApp anytime soon. Because the developers are finding it difficult to integrate a functional video Call feature into the app. While if you are like me, the sitting on the fence type, you just wait and see how time would resolve the problem.
If you are interested in using the latest version of WhatsApp, you have to become a WhatsApp BETA tester first . The name explains everything I guess. And you can join the program by heading to this page and signing up. Once you are accepted into the program, you can now get the latest WhatsApp by going to Google Play Store and searching for it. Or you can sideload the latest app from here.
Recently, Facebook has being adding several new features and making changes to the app. In the beginning of the year, it surprised the whole world by waiving off the $1 dollar subscription fee. That is a lot of money to throw away, considering that WhatsApp had reached the 1 billion mark in number of active users. And they still promised not to include ads to offset the loss of revenue. Just last month, as if daring security services around the world, end-to-end encryption was introduced. This made it virtually impossible for anyone to hack into the app. The latest fall-out of that decision was the shutdown of WhatsApp in Brazil about two weeks ago. And just last week, a PC app was introduced for users to enjoy WhatsApp on their systems.
Therefore, I find it surprising the WhatsApp video call feature was pulled. Because, recently more features were being added to WhatsApp. Removing a feature goes against the tide of recent developments. However, I must confess that I was never a fan of WhatsApp video call feature. One reason is that poor internet connection will never allow people like me to utilize the service. It is due to bad network that even the voice call feature on WhatsApp never became popular here. And of course, there is the cost of data. Video calls consume a lot of data. Unless you are very rich or on an unlimited expense account, it really doesn’t make sense to indulge in video calls. Trust me.
For now I won’t shed a tear for the pulling down of the WhatsApp video call feature. Maybe later when data become really cheap, I might see the sense in using that feature. I think we are gradually getting to the era of cheap data though. But until then, features like WhatsApp video call are a no-no for me.
photo credits: mobipicker.com; androidphoria.com