WhatsApp To End Support For Nokia And Blackberry Devices – Messaging Platform Signaling Dominance Of Android And iOS?

WhatsApp will soon end support for devices running operating systems from Blackberry and Nokia. The messaging platform, owned by Facebook, has explained that these platforms don’t offer “the kind of capabilities” it needs to expand.

WhatsApp, the insanely popular internet-based instant messaging service across the globe, has confirmed through a blog post that it will cease to support a number of mobile operating systems by the end of 2016. The most noteworthy platforms that WhatsApp won’t support include operating systems developed by Nokia and Blackberry. In other words, WhatsApp will be discontinued on BlackBerry and Nokia operating systems by 2017.

“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. 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. 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.”

As the company rapidly gains users, it needs to consolidate and focus its efforts on the platforms that are continually growing. In essence, the WhatsApp has hinted that it would prefer to stay loyal to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android and against trying to secure users who may be scattered across steadily dwindling platforms like the Nokia ‘S’ series, and Blackberry’s OS of the same name.

WhatsApp has confirmed that BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10, named BB10, won’t be supported apart from Nokia S40, Symbian S60. While these platforms are actively used by many users, WhatsApp will axe support for early Android iterations like Android 2.1 and Android 2.2. Similarly, it won’t support older Windows Phone 7.1. While these are much older and rather antiquated platforms, the news may come as a shock for to those using BB10, since this platform isn’t yet obsolete like the others. Interestingly, this decision by WhatsApp may push sales of BlackBerry devices like Priv, that support Android applications.

The Android iterations have already reached 6.0 with Marshmallow, but there are many devices still running earlier iterations, namely Jelly Bean, KitKat, and Lollipop. Since these versions are relatively recent, WhatsApp has retained support for them. As for Windows, Microsoft has been steadily merging the various platforms, bridging the gap between desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Windows 10 is the first true device-agonistic operating system that runs across all the hardware platforms. But earlier iterations, namely Windows Phone 7.1, are still observed.

WhatsApp recommends upgrading to a newer platform if you’re still using one of those listed above, but of course, that’s easier said than done in some cases, reported TechnoBuffalo. Users of such devices have no upgrade possibility, and hence will have to ditch their devices if they wish to continue using WhatsApp.

WhatsApp currently boasts a billion users. Moreover, these are a billion Monthly Active Users (MAU), and not those who merely register for the service and then forget about it. Back when Facebook bought WhatsApp for a lofty valuation of $18 billion, the platform had about 500 million. The social media giant allegedly bought the platform because it was becoming a big threat to Facebook’s own messaging platform.

The news comes after WhatsApp celebrated its seventh anniversary, and the company took advantage of the occasion to look back on what it has achieved and think about what it plans to do next, reported Tech Times.

Cumulatively, Google’s, Apple’s and Microsoft’s mobile operating systems account for 99.5 percent of smartphone platform. It is hard to imagine back in 2009, all three collectively commanded a mere 25 percent of market share.

WhatsApp recently stopped asking for its token $1 annual subscription fees, saying it was a major hurdle to adoption in developing countries.

[Photo by Arquivo/Getty Images]