Popular messaging application WhatsApp will drop support for older devices and platforms by the end of the year. Old versions of BlackBerry OS, Android and Windows Phone will no longer be supported come 2017.
Support for all versions of the BlackBerry operating system, including the current BlackBerry 10, will be dropped. With Blackberry itself seemingly dumping its own platform for Google’s Android, it may be the smartest thing to do at the moment. Older versions of Android, 2.1 (Eclair) and 2.2 (Froyo) will also no longer be supported. Users of Nokia’s old and abandoned Symbian-based devices will also not be spared the axe as Series 40 and Series 60 support is being dropped as well. Microsoft’s ill-fated Windows Phone 7.1 will join the short list of platforms that WhatsApp no longer deems meaningful.
WhatsApp stood out from its competitors like Telegram, LINE, Viber and others because it worked on basic devices like those based on Symbian Series 40 instead of just smartphones. With over a billion monthly active users, it remains to be seen whether this move will have any serious impact as the Facebook-owned WhatsApp seeks to monetize its product by targeting businesses. WhatsApp, which turned 7 years old, does not expect any negative impact. It is advising users of devices on such old platforms to upgrade their devices in order to continue using the service.
BlackBerry and Nokia were the kings of mobile throughout the 2000s when WhatsApp was conceptualised and eventually founded. However, times have changed and Android and iOS have grown their share of the mobile market from a little over 20% in 2009 to over 90% today.