WhatsApp voice calling coming to iOS in couple of weeks

29 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Took The Scenic Route, But Now It’s Nailing Mobile.

A company can’t easily shore up its weaknesses, especially when it grows to the size of Facebook, but the social network has managed to slowly but surely reinvent itself on mobile in a way that makes sense and resonates with users. Speaking at Facebook’s annual f8 developer’s conference Thursday, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton said the long-ago promised voice-calling feature will finally arrive on iOS devices within a “couple weeks,” according to a report from VentureBeat. FB surely stumbled along the path, and some of its efforts even drew outright scorn, but presumably the ill-fated experiments informed recent successes, and so it’s worth a quick examination of how we got from here, from there. Attendees at this year’s F8 were greeted with a splashy tent-filled venue full of colorful lights, sounds of a carefully curated playlist, and piles of food around every corner. If that wasn’t enough, day one’s announcements and technical sessions were topped off with custom Patagonia vests and a Deadmau5 concert as a parting gift to the developers who paid nearly $500 to attend.

But swag, snacks and a free concert aside, for many developers the biggest news of the conference was Messenger Platform: Facebook’s ambitious plan to turn Messenger into a massive hub of content along the lines of the chat apps that dominate in Asian markets. It wasn’t until CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted their cross-platform approach was insufficient to the task and focused on native experiences that the core Facebook app became something more enjoyed, and less ‘tolerated.’ The core experience was never the real problem though; Facebook’s other attempts to deliver a mobile native product offering that had similar resonance with users was the big issue. While there was never any indication Facebook had plans to introduce one, many developers at Wednesday’s closing keynote were clearly disappointed when WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton effectively shut down any hopes developers may have still had on the subject. There were some ill-conceived hardware partnerships, like the HTC Status and then the HTC First, and Facebook Home, the Android launcher that premiered on the First and then made its way to other devices (for the few million who’ve actually installed it since its introduction, which pales in comparison to the Play Store download numbers of either FB or Instagram by exponential margins). But this upcoming addition will reportedly function more like a telephone call than a voicemail, and put WhatsApp in competition with VoIP apps such as Skype and Viber.

Facebook Home misunderstood how users valued the social network; it wanted to overlay a user’s phone UX the way Facebook itself wants to overlay web browsing for a good percentage of the Internet-using population. The takeover was too overt, however, and missed the appreciate users have for siloed, differentiated app experiences, assuming once again that what was good for the web would be good for mobile, but in a different (read: worse) way than the original FB iOS and Android core app had. If you let in third parties who might, “inundate users with messages they don’t want,” it would come at the cost of that user experience, he reasoned. It still exists (as does Home and many other FB app experiments), but despite some early enthusiasm from the tech press, it hasn’t lit a fire under general users. Having a ready-to-use API and an SDK would save us great time and money.” In short: WhatsApp features could enable the kinds of experiences developers can’t yet achieve with Messenger.

Messenger becoming a platform illuminates why that separation was necessary, as it will now plug in to a network of other standalone apps, which would’ve been a tortured relationship otherwise. As a standalone experience, however, Messenger is complemented by external apps, as these can remain completely optional for users who value the core messaging experience and don’t want that to change, while also making it easier for users looking to add more to do just that. To use the voice calling feature on WhatsApp with a jailbroken iPhone, you can follow these instructions that TheFuseJoplin.com provided: 1.) You will need to install AppSyn and download the latest WhatsApp BETA version. The approach, applied to both Instagram and Messenger, stands as the best chance Facebook has ever had to really drive mobile engagement without simply replicating its success on the desktop on smaller devices. Though he admits he would love to be on WhatsApp, he says he understands why the two are separate. “Over time some of the things they’re so focused on will enable richer experiences,” Spiridellis predicts. “Connectivity and hardware, those are the two things that are making sure whatever device you’re on, whatever kind of network connectivity you have, you’re going to have that great core experience.” Until that happens though, developers better not hold their breath.

Looking at FB’s past successes and failures provides a good breadcrumb trail for how it got from there to here, but it doesn’t necessarily offer a good way to predict next steps. Suffice to say, what it’s doing now on mobile is far more interesting, and engaging, than what it was doing even just one year ago, and that bodes well for the future.

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