WhatsApp users have been raving about the new video call feature the popular messaging service is expected to roll out this year. Screenshots of the app's video call feature have been circulating online since December 2015, but WhatsApp is yet to make this update public, to the dismay of users.
The long wait may finally be over, as new screenshots of the alleged beta version of WhatsApp for iOS have leaked. PhoneRadar acquired some of these images and described the interface as being similar to Facebook Messenger.
According to the publication, users will need a jailbroken iOS device with Cydia installed to preview the beta version of the app. In the latest update, a "Video Call" icon is added on the top right corner of the chat window, beside the voice call option. Other connectivity options, including instant messaging and voice calls, are also available for users.
It is important to note though that the beta version screenshots that have emerged are those available for iOS devices 18.104.22.1683. Once WhatsApp rolls out the new feature in its next update, it will be for iOS version 22.214.171.1245. Additionally, PhoneRadar says that the current beta is available exclusively for iOS devices. There is no word yet when an Android version will be deployed.
Pew Research Center reported that video calling on mobile devices is quickly rising in popularity in the United States, reaching 47 percent of adults who use the technology. WhatsApp is not the only messaging company looking to expand new video calling features. BlackBerry Messenger recently launched a beta video chat feature for iOS and Android devices, enabling cross-platform video calling. Targeted at business users, BlackBerry's new video calling feature is available to BlackBerry Messenger users in the United States and Canada and is expected to launch worldwide in July.
Since Facebook acquired WhatsApp in February 2014, the popular messaging app is continuously improving its business strategy to attract more users. In January 2016, WhatsApp announced that it will no longer charge subscription fees and made the app free to all users. A few months later, WhatsApp rolled out end-to-end encryption in April as part of its initiative to apply tighter security, as well as protect its users' data.