WhatsApp, the extremely popular multi-platform messaging app, which was gobbled up by Facebook in a multi-billion dollar acquisition deal, is purportedly set to receive a large iOS app update in the coming weeks. It’s been speculated ever since the Facebook takeover that the platform would undergo a significant overhaul to introduce an array of powerful features that build on the app’s functionality. In an interview, Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp, has confirmed that the next update will introduce voice calls directly from within the app to other WhatsApp users.

Of course, those who regularly make use of WhatsApp has been aware of potential built-in voice calling for a few months now. A set of leaked screenshots said to show the Android version of WhatsApp with functioning voice calling were first made public in December of last year. Since then, the feature has been made available in beta version of both Android and iOS apps for a while now. But now, we have a release time-frame for the final non-beta iPhone app version of the said feature for the first time.

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After initially claiming – in the interview – that voice calling for iPhone version would be introduced within a “couple” of weeks, WhatsApp’s co-founder quickly revised the statement to indicate that it would be available in “several” weeks instead. Not a guaranteed release date by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s likely safe to assume that the App Store icon will be badged with a WhatsApp update within the next month or so.

Acton’s comments were made during Facebook’s annual F8 conference held in San Francisco. Although the conference itself was heavily weighted towards the future of the Facebook platform and the evolution of its Messenger app, the WhatsApp comments are likely to be the ones that will excite a lot of “everyday” users given the fact the cross-platform service has amassed over 700 million users globally.

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The acquisition of WhatsApp, along with the continued development and emphasis placed on Messenger as a powerful communication tool shows that Facebook is extremely serious about steering itself toward being a leading communications company that can compete against the likes of Skype.

(Source: VentureBeat)

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