Just in the same week when WhatsApp celebrated its seventh anniversary with its one billion active users, the Facebook-owned company came with news that may upset many of the same users. By the end of this year, WhatsApp is going to cease support for BlackBerry and Nokia devices running those company’s operating systems.
The company announced in a blog post that it will discontinue its support with BlackBerry, which includes BlackBerry 10, the OS last shipped on a new phone less than a year and half ago. While making its latest flagship Android-powered Priv, BlackBerry itself omitted the OS. So it won’t be a great shock if WhatsApp is depriving it as well.
Also, it will end support for Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.1 and 2.2 by the end of this year. Additionally, it will no longer support Windows Phone 7.1.
“When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today,” WhatsApp said in an announcement. “The Apple App Store was only a few months old. About 70 percent of smartphones sold at the time had operating systems offered by BlackBerry and Nokia. Mobile operating systems offered by Google, Apple and Microsoft – which account for 99.5 percent of sales today – were on less than 25 percent of mobile devices sold at the time. 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.”
No doubt that the news will be greeted with dismay in many regions, especially developing markets where Nokia’s earlier operating systems still enjoy some market shares. WhatsApp also expressed a great deal by offering voice calls, and video calls are reportedly being added since its inauguration as a simple mobile messaging app. However, the announcement explains the reason behind the decision.
“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,” the company explained in the announcement. “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.”