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WhatsApp Is Rolling Out Video Calls On Its Android App (techcrunch.com) 42

WhatsApp appears to be rolling out its video calling feature for beta users of the Android app. The arrival of the feature was first spotted by Android Police, which found that an updated app interface caused some users of the beta builds of the application to be able to access video calling. TechCrunch reports: For those on a version of WhatsApp which includes video calling support, you're able to tap the call button or tap on a contact card to kick off a video call. In this case, a new dialog box will appear, offering the choice between a standard voice call and a video call. In addition, the call log will show which calls were made via video by annotating them with the camera icon, instead of the telephone icon. However, there isn't yet a way to call other WhatsApp users who don't also have video calling support. If you try to, WhatsApp defaults to a voice call. Android isn't the only platform where video calling has been switched on. Last week, some users on the WhatsApp beta for Windows Phone were also surprised to find that the feature was now functional. And in this case, it didn't require an app update -- indicating a server-side change could enable it. Some users have also reported seeing the feature on iOS.
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WhatsApp Is Rolling Out Video Calls On Its Android App

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  • This will probably help to keep people on WhatsApp. It's got to be more convenient than the iMessage/Facetime or Allo/Duo split between apps approach that Apple and Google are taking.

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      If owner we could convince Whatsapp owner to stop pushing two god-damn-awful separate apps for Facebook and Messenger, neither of which are as useful as just Request Desktop Site in your mobile Chrome browser.

      Seriously, Facebook is THE most uninstalled app on all the smartphones I've ever help people with. It consume space at ludicrous rates and yet does nothing better than a browser would, and every time you want to message, you have to load up an entirely different app anyway (presumably because the bloa

    • ^^^ this.

      What in [Gg]od's name made Google think it was a good idea to split text and video into two apps (and REQUIRE a phone number for both to register making it infeasible to have a desktop or data-SIM only client).

  • by wizrd_nml ( 661928 ) on Thursday October 27, 2016 @07:05AM (#53160233) Homepage

    Whatsapp is great, but every so often something in the app makes it feel like it's developed by one guy in his parents' basement.

    For example, currently there's no way to migrate your chat history between iphone and android without paying $25 for a third party app (that doesn't always work).

    I'm using an iPhone 6. The camera takes 5-10 seconds to open from within the app.

    It takes them months to add simple features, like 3D touch. I didn't mind when they didn't add it because maybe they didn't want to. But then it came like 9 months after the feature was introduced.

    Plus the interface is getting very old and is need of a major redesign.

    If Apple releases iMessage for Android as is rumored, the whatsapp team should be worried.

    • 3D touch? What is that?

      • by khchung ( 462899 )

        3D touch? What is that?

        Pressing harder on the screen for extra functions, kind of like using right-click with a mouse.

        For example, instead of simply touching a message notification to open the Whatsapp app to reply, you press harder on the notification and you can reply in-situ from the lock screen. Or pressing harder on the Whatsapp app icon to bring up a menu with some frequently used actions.

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday October 27, 2016 @08:32AM (#53160515)

      For example, currently there's no way to migrate your chat history between iphone and android without paying $25 for a third party app (that doesn't always work).

      Plus the interface is getting very old and is need of a major redesign.

      What is this? Demand for change for changes sake and features that no one except for maybe 5 people world wide would use?

  • The plethora of WebRTC and mobile video calling clients really does not make this a very interesting feature. IOS and Android users have SO many different options for video calling that it's not really that interesting. From an engineer's perspective I am interested in the various strengths and weaknesses in terms of video codecs, forward error correction, etc. A nice matrix outlining the various technical approaches would be nice. Also....what would ALSO be nice is a re-commitment from these closed walled off gardens would be XMPP and/or SIP compatibility (native and not an add-on cost option).
  • So in other words, Skype. Or WeChat. Or any of a dozen other near-identical video chat programs.

    I feel dizzy from so much innovation.

    They used to say that every program expanded and added features until it could send email, now it looks like "video chat" is the new benchmark. How long will it be before the "FlashLight Extreme" app on my phone can initiate video calls?

  • ... they are rolling back video (and audio) calls and SMS by replacing Hangouts with the sub-featured Allo messaging app.

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