WhatsApp is predominantly used as a popular messaging app.
In fact, on New Year’s Eve 2017, it was used in record amounts, with a reported 75 BILLION messages sent on the night.
However, a lot of people often forget that it’s also pretty handy for video chat.
In fact, WhatsApp calls have become so crucial to the popular messaging app, that the platform has over 100 million calls made per day.
As with every year, there’s always plenty of rumours about how the platform could be evolving and what new features it could be rolling out.
But for months, it’s been rumoured that the company has been working on releasing a big update to the app’s video chat feature.
And now we might finally have seen our first evidence of this upcoming change as part of a beta update released this week.
Reportedly, WhatsApp is rolling out a new feature that introduces a brand new video call switch button.
This may only seem like a subtle change to the platform, but it’s one that could have a big impact on how people use the app and encourage more users to use video instead of voice calls.
The new feature was first spotted by WABetaInfo, however, they say that this is only available at the moment to people signed up to the WhatsApp beta version.
Apparently, the button will send a request to the person you’re talking to, asking if they want to switch to a video call.
However, what makes this feature all the more clever, is that if the recipient declines the video call, the voice call will continue without any problems.
Ostensibly, the new feature means no one will ever have to hang up during a voice call to only then switch to a video call with the same person.
The feature is only available for the time being with one-to-one calls and won’t work for group calls.
However, Trusted Reviews suspects that “over time such a feature could make it into WhatsApp”, especially with smartphone screen sizes which are big enough to support a split screen.
News of this new feature arrives after the company pulled support for the app from several smartphones and mobile operating systems on January 1, 2018.
The app dropped support for iPhone 3GS/iOS 6, BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone 8 and older.
The move is happening because older phones are now no longer compatible with the latest advances in technology.
Thankfully, this is only impacting a few out of the billions who still use older systems, such as Froyo which is only run by less than 0.1% of all Android devices. As for Apple users, the change only hit 0.03% of iPhone users who were still using iOS 6.
The figure for Blackberry OS is less than 0.5%, and Windows Phone is only run by roughly 1% of UK smartphone users.
WhatsApp said in a statement: “As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use.
“While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future.
“This was a tough decision for us to make, but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp.
“If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone… to continue using WhatsApp.”