WhatsApp launches push-to-talk voice messages for 300m users
New feature could help the app succeed in countries where typing on smartphone keyboards is difficult
Thursday 08 August 2013
WhatsApp, one of the most recognisable OTT chat apps, has added a new voice messaging feature.
OTT or 'over the top' messaging services send text and images (and now voice) using a smartphone's data. The market has seen explosive growth in these services with a recent study by Informa estimating that they accounted for 41 billion messages sent each day (compared to 19.5 billion sent via SMS).
With more than 300 million monthly active users WhatsApp itself handles 11 billion sent messages every day, and 325 million photos (that’s more than Snapchat’s daily count of 200 million).
The new voice messaging feature is a simple push-to-talk system. Users hold down on the microphone icon (or use an actual physical button on devices with a keypad) and begin speaking. As soon as the message is recorded you simply let go of the button to send, or swipe to the left to delete and start over.
There’s no limit on the length of the message and the app automatically switches from loud to soft depending on whether the phone is held at arm’s length or by the user’s ear.
Speaking in an interview with AllThingsD, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum said he hoped that the new feature would help the app make headway in countries like Russia, where the 33 letters of the Cyrillic alphabet are often hard to type out on a tiny smartphone screen.
Unusually for an app with such a large userbase, Whatsapp will be launching the new functionality for all its supported mobile platforms, including Nokia, BlackBerry, iPhone and Android.
Although WhatsApp is probably the best known OTT app in the UK, there are many global competitors, many with equally strong geographical bases. Line claims more than 150 million users in Japan; WeChat has over 200 milllion users in China, and Viber (which offers calls through its mobile app and on desktop computers) also has more than 200m.
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 London council removes 'unacceptable' Stamford Hill posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
London council removes 'unacceptable' Stamford Hill posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...
£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...
£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...
£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...