WhatsApp has released its new voice calling feature to the WhatsApp app for all BlackBerry 10 users, indicating that the Facebook-owned messaging app has a platform-friendly approach to attracting and retaining users.
WhatsApp Calling has been available for the BlackBerry platform for several months, although the feature was only available for users who have the beta version of the app on their BlackBerry. With the release of WhatsApp for BlackBerry version 2.12.12, however, all BlackBerry users can use WhatsApp to make VoIP calls to their friends and contacts for free, even if they are in another country, as long as they are on Wi-Fi, not a cellular network.
The new app version also includes a variety of new features and improvements. Aside from bug fixes, WhatsApp now lets users search for messages, chats, and contacts with a single tap of a new Search option on the chat lists. It also shows location messages in a larger map and has new font and highlighting settings to match those used for BlackBerry OS 10.3.
From now on, users will also be able to add unsaved contacts to their own list straight from a chat list or a group info screen. They will also be able to set a custom ringtone for WhatsApp calls by going to Settings, Notification Settings, and Call Notifications. Also, users will be able to create WhatsApp-specific subdirectories for all audio and video files they receive.
Version 2.12.12 will also include better support and navigation for BlackBerry Classic owners who use WhatsApp.
Users who have the beta release of WhatsApp will have to delete the beta version from their phone and download the official new version. Those who do not have the app but would like to try out its voice calling feature can get the app straight from BlackBerry World.
To call someone on WhatsApp, users simply need to open the Calls tab and tap on the new call icon at the top of the screen. They then choose which contact they want to call and ring them up.
The official voice calling feature for WhatsApp first rolled out to Android devices in March, although many users were able to try out the feature via an invite-only test that had plenty of users begging for invitations. This was followed by the official release to iOS users in April, and WhatsApp is said to be working on voice calling for its Windows Phone app.
Photo: Maurizio Pesce | Flickr