Ever since WhatsApp launched its voice call feature, rumors of a video call feature started roaming around the internet. A few leaked screenshots popped up at a German website as well. Now it seems, the rumors have finally been put to rest as the latest beta update is available for the WhatsApp for Android app.
When a user makes a call using the updated app, they get two options to choose from. One is for the simple audio call while the other one is the video call option. However, the feature is not available to everyone. While the options are there, only a few users in selected countries are able to make video calls.
It seems there is some server side limitation which prevents everyone from making the video call. Since the instant messaging app has already enabled the option in a few countries, it’s possible the rest of the beta community will get the features soon as well.
As with other updates, this will happen gradually. WhatsApp usually takes its time testing such new features. Even when it is done, the stable app rollout takes quite some time. The voice call feature was extensively tested in a limited beta as well and was only available through invites at the beginning.
Soon after, the update rolled out for the stable app but it still took weeks before the feature was available to everyone. WhatsApp has over 1 billion users to cater, so the rollout will indeed be very slow and could take a while before going mainstream.
Other than the video call feature, the beta will bring a feature enabling group invites via links, QR codes or NFC tags. There are several under-the-hood changes and some minor tweaks as well. We will update our readers when more info is available.
Users who wish to install this beta version (v2.16.80) can do so via the Google Play Store or sideload the apk. However, WhatsApp has already started rolling out the next version of the app (v2.16.81) which disables the video call option for those countries where the feature is disabled at the server side.