Hike, the famous instant messaging client from India has included the much-awaited voice-calling feature to its messaging app. The new feature allows users to make voice calls to other Hike users by using the internet data.
Hike has employed a rather aggressive strategy in bringing out this feature to its service palette. In the starting of this month itself, the company announced that it had acquired Zip Phone, a US-based company, which enables users to make voice calls over Wi-Fi network. A week after, alleged photos of the service were leaked over the web, giving us a hint about the upcoming feature.
Zip Phone, which has now been acquired by Hike, allows users to make voice calls over Wi-Fi network. Zip Phone is available on both Android and iOS platforms, automatically switches the normal call to VoIP call if it detects a Wi-Fi connection and if both the parties (caller and receiver) have the same app installed on their respective devices. Although on the iOS, users are required to manually open the app before making a call.
As of now, Hike has rolled out the voice-calling feature only to its Android client. In order to enjoy the latest feature, both the parties are required to install the latest software update on their respective phones. The voice-calling, however, is still in its Beta stage therefore it is limited to certain features such as the ability to pause a call and put it on speaker. In order to make a call, firstly, users need to open their friend’s profile on the messenger, and then tap on the dialer icon.
Hike’s aggression behind bringing the voice calling feature to its service as early as possible should be credited to a similar announcement made by WhatsApp from last year, in which it said that it will be bringing out the voice-calling capability to its app by 2014. However, WhatsApp postponed the launch timeline, it might roll out the feature sometime within this year.
Interestingly, Hike Messenger is funded and managed by Bharti Softbank. The app has been founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal, the son of Sunil Bharti Mittal. Airtel, recently received a heavy dose of criticism when it announced its plan to charge extra for VoIP services. The company later decided to shelve its plans till TRAI makes a decision on a consulting paper over the issue.