WhatsApp planning to add voice services this spring

WhatsApp, the popular and recently Facebook-acquired instant messaging (IM) app, will be adding voice to their service sometime in the next few months. That means WhatsApp users — all 465 million and counting — will not only be able to text each other but talk to each other as well. The announcement was made by WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum at MWC as reported by TechCrunch:

“We use the least amount of bandwidth and we use the hell out of it,” [Koum] said. “We will focus on simplicity.” Voice will come to Android and iOS first and then following on some Nokia and BlackBerry phones, he added.

Apple's FaceTime, Microsoft's Skype, Google's Hangouts, BlackBerry's BBM, and Facebook Messenger have had voice for a while now, but putting more of it in the hands of almost half-a-billion users who already give WhatsApp a lot of their attention is a good thing. Voice over IP (VoIP) is the future of audio calls, from apps like the above to Voice over LTE (VoLTE) from the carriers and every step forward gets out there faster. (Though it might be nice if there was a universal protocol that followed us between apps so we could answer a VoIP call in whichever app we personally like best, rather than having to figure out which of our dozen IM apps were ringing...)

Are you eager for WhatsApp voice calls or are you already served well enough by existing VoIP apps?