Technology

WhatsApp to add voice-call function, and other MWC news

WhatsApp chief executive Jan Koum Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption WhatsApp chief executive Jan Koum addressed the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona

Mobile messaging service WhatsApp, which is being bought by Facebook for $19bn (£12bn), will add a voice-calling function "within months".

The app already offers voice notes - small audio clips - but the update means it would act more like Skype.

WhatsApp said it wanted the app to be on "every phone in the world".

The announcement was one of several made at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.

Image copyright Lenovo
Image caption Lenovo's new Yoga tablet features the distinctive "multimode" design

The event, which is the biggest in the mobile industry calendar, also heard from:

  • Sony. It launched two major products - a smartphone and a tablet. The company recently said it was selling its PC unit and cutting a number of jobs so it could focus on its mobile strategy. However, it is not seen as a major player in the smartphone and tablet market. The Xperia Z2 smartphone is targeting high-end users - the camera is able to record in 4K, four times the quality of HD. Also in Sony's line-up was a Smartband, a fitness-tracking device.
  • Lenovo, which banked its tablet future on the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+, an Android-based device that will come installed with Lenovo-made apps to help to make the most out of its distinctive "multimode" design. It can be bent in various different ways for different purposes such as typing or watching a film. The additional apps also claim to offer protection against malicious software and theft.
  • HP also brought its own line of "Yoga inspired" devices to the event. The HP Pavilion x360 can be used as either tablet or laptop PC.
  • And ZTE offered up the Grand Memo II LTE smartphone - although with a screen measuring 6in, it could perhaps be better described as a "phablet", a device halfway between a smartphone and tablet. The company also unveiled the Open C, a budget phone that runs Mozilla's Firefox mobile operating system.

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