Whatsapp to introduce voice services in Q2 this year

By James Richardson on 24 Feb 2014 07:21 am EST

We've already had some good instant messaging news today - that BBM will be coming to Windows Phone and the Nokia X platform, but it looks like the IM war is now in full swing. 

It's reported that the cross platform instant messaging client Whatsapp will introduce voice services in Q2 this year. Us folk here on team BlackBerry probably won't be too fussed about the news as we already have BBM voice and video, but for Whatsapp and their huge user base it's a pretty big deal. 

With Whatsapp being purchased recently by Facebook I'm sure it will only add to its current 465 million users worldwide - a number that far exceeds BBM (currently). In fact, Whatsapp CEO Jan Koum has stated at MWC that the subscriber base has already shot up by 15 million since the acquisition was announced. 

The voice services will hit Android and iOS devices first with BlackBerry and Windows Phone to follow - I'm sure us BlackBerry 10 users won't lose any sleep over that. 

BBM has some work to do to catch up with Whatsapp, but with the service soon to be available on all smartphone platforms we at least now stand more of a chance. Let's just hope BlackBerry throw some marketing behind BBM on an ongoing basis. 

Source: TechCrunch

Reader comments

Whatsapp to introduce voice services in Q2 this year


Desktop BBM asap! If we don't get a differentiation now we will not win on the users base competition! Telegram is already hot because it's the new cool thing + all the "we are a privacy supportive messenger" thing.

Posted via CB10

And they are also adding things like auto destructive messages like the kinds of snap.

Posted via CB10

Yes, if BB really wants to eat Skype's and WhatsApp's lunch they're gonna have to get a Windows & Mac (and even Linux) desktop client a.s.a.p... but they also need the ability to call land lines ("telephones")... I've stuck with Skype because their $3 per month plan offloads mobile phone "minutes" onto my data plan so I can basically call anywhere in north america on my plan for $3... but I can call any where from north america in that plan from my home, an internet cafe, a friends house, etc. If BBM has a plan like this I'd drop Skype in a New Jersey minute.

Correction; BBM needs to iron the wrinkles (fix the bugs) first or at least as they market like crazy. I tried calling new bbm users on android and iphone. The call quality was horrible. Lots of potential YES but lots of work ahead, you BET!

Is WhatsApp available for Windows Phone? BlackBerry needs to come out on desktop and tablets as well.

Posted via CB10

Yes, it is, as well to Nokia S40 and Symbian. I totally agree for desktop and tablet, however BlackBerry has to change from 1 PIN/device to 1 PIN/person and set up a message reliable SYNCHRONIZATION between devices...

Good point. I was wondering too, when this will become a problem.

We need to be able to manage PINs when we log into the BBID portal.

When you wipe your iPhone, and re-install, your device might get a new PIN associated with it. On a BlackBerry, it's apparently burnt into the hardware, but on other phone platforms, OS wipe can trigger new PIN association, and they can't message their friends anymore.

iPhone for me? Scr... ahem Q that! (posted from the latter)

You are on it my friend. I was just thinking what BBM needs to come up with to get a head start and yours is definitely the best option. Desktop BBM asap!

Posted via CB10

1. Blackberrys marketing is nonexistent, why the hell are there no tv spots all day about the BBM now?? That's such a wasted chance I could cry how bad their marketing is. Millions of Whatsapp users are now ready for a chance but the time windows is small.

2. BBM needs the Desktop Client and Video Chat Multiplatform rdy before Whatsapp has Voice Chat, when they will loose the feature war it is even harder to advertise BBM

Posted via CB10

@Baumi...It's true you gotta spend a buck to make a buck,but let the stock price rise and people will take notice,then hit them with a new marketing strategy,a couple more Quarters and then with the new Qualicom chip and a new super phone,bring it on.

I don't think TV commercials are not needed. But it would be graet when the media take notice. Unfortunally it's not the case right now - at least in Germany. There was a report about WA alternatives from dpa (germany's biggest news agency) and the they mentioned every IMS, even small startups and student projects - but not BBM! Maybe they skiped BBM because they thought BB is out of business.
Now this report is the source of countless news articles :(
I try to get an answer from dpa, why the skiped BBM...

I too have read a few articles in the UK regarding whatsapp and changing to other messaging systems now they are owned by Facebook but no mention of BBM - it's as if they don't exist!

Posted via CB10

Marketing helps a lot, remember the other day when wa was off?, instantly 3 friends were on Line IM as new, why they didnt come to BBM instead?, because Line has ads in Latin America at least.

Lol. Bbm should support video calling for all now. Whatsapp charges $1 for everything a year. Bbm.can beat them

Posted via CB10

The key is going to be pounding out the message of secure communications with BlackBerry 10 and BBM. As big as WhatsApp get, they are not going to be offering privacy. By getting people to start worrying about their privacy and security, BlackBerry can make BBM the one app that offers what the others cannot. It's very important that they get on this quickly though...which, alas, they almost certainly will not (please let me be wrong).

Join the Cause @ BlackBerry Bootleg Marketing Channel - C003483F4

I have lost all hope in the privacy, security, and what not saving BlackBerry. It's quite obvious people don't give a crap about any if that. They just want convenience. Something to help them be even more lazy.

Posted via CB10

BBM needs to announce BBM Voice, Video Calls, BBM Channels, e BBM and PC and MAC platform and most of all BBM Money all on cross platform then a marketing blitz and Show Me Demo !!!

I should be able to go to www.bbm.com and find all the above sweet easy and in multi languages !

BBRY start hiring media communications data entry personal and enter all this info on www.bbm.com !

Posted via CB10

People I work with who have Blackberry's because of work, all have an iPhone or Android as a personal phone, have no clue about the upgrade to 10.2, bbm or anything else about BlackBerry for that matter. There is just no marketing or awareness to users. Unless that changes it's going to be difficult to convert people.

Posted via CB10

WhatsApp can listen to my backside talking. Who wants them / Facebook to listen in and voice-profile you too? Curious what a monstrosity of a "privacy policy" they will draw up for that service.

Thanks, I pass. Hope BBM can make some inroads.

Zzzzwiped from a Zedevice....

BBM needs urgently to:

1. Add video for EVERYONE;
2. Make easier to find BBM contacts;
3. Insist on the stability of BBM compared to others;
4. Improve their marketing.

BBM is the challenger. Whatsap is extremely strong. No one wants to use different apps to communicate if only one can be used. BBM should then seek to seduce whatsap users. This can only be done if users perceive BBM as having enough advantages. This is why it is crucial for BBM to act the way I suggested.

Posted via CB10

5. eliminate it's file sharing 6mb limit.
6. multiple file share.
7. make glympse more international friendly.
8. have all the mentioned above a month before WhatsApp brings out voice (then video)

Save it guys. This kind of feature trick of voice calling or clipping only is sadly familiar to Microsoft Windows. Early days with Microsoft Network or MSN Messenger/ Windows Live or W.L. Messenger.

Same with video calling via webcams.

It's not so special anymore.

Posted via CB10

BBM need to be available on windows desktops and Mac asap. Also BBM video needs to go cross platform. What's crap is already established so no matter what BlackBerry does, if they match they will be conceived as superior.

Posted via CB10

BBM is inferior

when opening a multiple chat, i cannot send a picture in the chat?? come on guys, BBM for all is a joke!!

This shows the importance of getting Bbm video out there to everyone, as well as adding push2talk notifications and fixing the in group picture and video sharing.

Bbm team has no time to rest on its laurels.

Posted via CB10

Blackberry Need TO Add Gif support , Better Pic share on conversations whatsapp Like , Video chat on Ios and android and, windows 8.1 desktop App !!

A war where BBM isn't even participating in, just trampled over. Just as the article mentions, BBM numbers are few compared to WhatsApp etc.

Because of the infectious / contagious / invasive nature of WhatsApp.

Populate from your contacts in your phonebook? If I did that, I'd have several hundreds of my customers on WhatsApp, and they'd know when I'm on and off.

I cannot be a natural WhatsApp user, because it just takes a few out of a couple of hundred to spam me or abuse it in some way. NO THANKS!

iPhone for me? Scr... ahem Q that! (posted from the latter)

This no doubt means game on for BBM (Blackberry), in order to remain relevant they need to focus on full cross platform functionality including sync of same features at same time available to all, and this includes Windows. Let us not fool ourselves WhatsApp now has the $$$ to devote to developing and shall be a reckoning dominant force regardless of what we may want to think or believe.
BBM for me has 20 business related contacts (5 friends), While WhatsApp has about 230 (over 80 business related) - I have never left BB, my friends & clients thou made the move and hence the difference.

One of the more sensitive and well reasoned statements I have seen on the WA/BBM debate. Over the last week, so many here want to cast off WA as irrelevant, especially since the announcement of the Facebook acquisition.

The truth is, in this war BBM is the challenger, and has to significantly step up it's game in order to cut into the competetion's user base.

Blackberry always.....

Bbm has work to do to catch up? I at least know when my messages were sent and read. That's the oldest feature in messaging history thanks to bbm and whats app doesn't even have it yet.....talk about catching up!

Hate solves nothing, Respect gains everything!

I'm going to need BB to bring video and market the h*ll out of it. I support BB and want them to succeed. BBVideo along with the other services will help BB in the long run IMHO.

Many here have touched on the lack of marketing by BlackBerry. I think once BBM has released every feature to all platforms, it needs to start selling the sizzle and not the steak.
People have a vision of BlackBerry in their heads and unfortunately it's not a positive one for most people. Rather than saying, "look what BBM (and BlackBerry in general) can do," it needs to show how people feel emotionally when they connect with a BlackBerry. Ads based on emotion tend to influence people very well.

Cheers. :)

Posted via CB10

"... I'm sure it will only add to its current 465 million users worldwide - a number that far exceeds BBM (currently)."

Such the optimist James!

Do you have doubts that they will? We have to face the facts before we can effectively fight the war.

Blackberry always.....

How many of them got haplessly suckered in, because they are in someone's phonebook?

Whereas with BBM and the PIN system, you make more of a conscious decision to join, I feel.

To me, that makes a BBM member a more valuable one, because I think the slightly bigger effort you have to put in makes it seem more of a commitment. I might be wrong.

iPhone for me? Scr... ahem Q that! (posted from the latter)

Now is the time to do the marketing! You hear me BlackBerry? Now! Before WhatsApp even has Voice available. Second, get BBM Video Chat on the other platforms ASAP! No one out there even knows what BBM can do except for other BlackBerry BBM users who market BBM to our freinds and family for you!

Posted via CB10

One would have thought that WhatsApp had the "Voice" feature already. If BlackBerry accelerates its pace of improvements on BBM, it will stand a good chance of growing very big too.

Care Not Do I. even if BBM had not finally got cross platform. Back when the first Facebook purchase rumors came out I said that would be the deal breaker. Facebook is the true Whatsapp killer sadly.

Bbm need to launch video call cross platform and fast, very fast if it want to keep its head above water

Posted via CB10

just add the feature where I can send multiple pictures at once and whatsApp will e no more on my Q10

This was inevitable. I'm afraid to say that the timing of this whole Facebook acuisition + WhatsApp's recent announcement of Voice in the summer couldn't have come at a worse time for BB and BBM.

Maybe I am retarded but I find BBM difficult to use. The invitation thing seems to be really complicated.

Meanwhile, I installed what app and I immediately got most of my contacts in there. The interface is so easy to use. I don't know why BBM is so complex. My life is complex already.

Posted via CB10

Currently AT&T in the US blocks BBM voice and video calling over their network I don't know if they will block voice on Whatsapp but if they don't we are in big trouble.

Posted via CB10

I'm on ATT and I use BBM voice with my kids and brother who are all on BlackBerry.

Posted via CB using my Q10

BBM's free, secure & has more features than whatsapp. Just bring video ASAP and make sure it works on iOS better!

BlackBerry better be ready to innovate android and ios through the release of BBM video, and they better do it fast. Marketing is key as well!

Posted via CB10

Every time someone asks me if I have whatsapp I said not I say why don't you download BBM on your Android or iPhone and they always ask ohhh I didn't know I could download BBM on my smartphone so obviously BlackBerry needs commercial to let people know they can use a better and secure platform for chat and voice now my friends who has android they don't use anymore whatsapp since I made them download BBM

Posted via CB10

BBM needs PC, cross platform voice, video, and fileshare.

Many people I know on other platforms love BBM. Especially on those on the dating sites, because they do not have to share their phone numbers.

May BlackBerry needs to advertise on eHarmony, Match, and Tagged. That would bolster their roles.

Posted via CB using my Q10

So am I reading correctly? WhatsApp uses people's phone numbers to connect to you?... but i have people in my contacts that I really don't want to connect to instantly in that way... no thanks. I like having the option...then again, I'll see how long that will last as I only have 2 people left on bbm...i may have to give in down the road.

Posted via CB10

Am I being a pessimist if I were to say the user base of Nokia & Windows phone isn't significant? I'm guessing those two camps will only add 2 million users to the whole population of BBM. After all they had survived all these while when BBM wasn't available on those two platform.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry should be pushing out Video chat crossplatform to shut this shit down before it even becomes popular. WhatsApp is still very much a threat to BBM's future. I have a lot of friends that simply deleted BBM after just a month of its introduction on iOS and Android. Its still not that popular here in the states.

"Men's Fashion & Lifestyle" BBM Channel: C001214D9

BlackBerry should take over some IM so to reduce competition and expand customer base. I suggest LINE, I think LINE in Asia is growing fast, much faster then BBM and what's App

Posted via CB10

My active records of contact on each IM App:
BBM = 7
What's App= 359
Line= 1268

BMM is going down. What's App depend on the phone contact. But Line just keep adding up and all the Sticker App is make IM no so boring.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry is almost finished rolling out the marquee features of BBM. When video rolls out I envision the PR switch will be pulled and unleash the dogs of war and marketing.

Posted via CB10