As if the recent news of its acquisition by Facebook wasn’t enough, the mobile messaging service WhatsApp will introduce a voice calling capability later this year, according to reports.
The news was revealed at the Mobile World Congress being held in Barcelona this week. WhatsApp’s chief executive and co-founder Jan Koum says that beginning in the second quarter of 2014, WhatsApp users will be able to leave Internet voice messages through their smartphones. This new feature is similar to voice services provided by the mobile messaging app’s international rivals, including Kakao of South Korea and WeChat of China.
According to Koum, the voice call service will first be tested on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems. It will then become available on Windows phones, Blackberry, and other cellphone brands.
In addition to this new feature, Koum says WhatsApp will collaborate with the German cellphone carrier E-Plus to launch a mobile brand.
WhatsApp has 465 million monthly users and is adding about 1 million more on a daily basis. Acquired by Facebook for a whopping $19 billion, the tech company claimed that it would stay independent and nothing would change for its users.