On Feb. 29, 2016, WhatsApp announced on its blog that it will be ending its support for all BlackBerry devices by the end of 2016. The decision will also affect some Nokia phones and older versions of Android phones. The company said this move will see the evolution of the popular social application as it plans to launch new innovative features with improved security tools.
WhatsApp, which just turned seven and has a billion active users, acknowledged in a statement that this was “[a] tough decision” to make. However, the company stressed that this will “give people better ways” to stay connected on the social platform. The company also advised those who are going to be affected to “upgrade to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone” before the end of 2016. The list of the mobile platforms to be affected by this decision include:
- All BlackBerry devices, including BB10
- Nokia S40
- Nokia Symbian S60
- Android 2.1 and Android 2.2
- Windows Phone 7.1
BlackBerry will be the hardest hit by the move. In 2009, when WhatsApp was launched, BlackBerry was the world-leading smartphone vendor. According to Forbes, BlackBerry sold over seven million phones in 2014 alone. This means that “at least tens of millions” of BlackBerry devices will be given a boot by WhatsApp. The irony is that these are the same users who made the social app popular. In the company’s words “these mobile devices have been important part of [WhatsApp]” but now they no longer support the app’s forthcoming capabilities. The “tech-tide” has changed and today BlackBerry only hold 1% of the market.
WhatsApp co-founder and CEO, Jan Koum, affirmed that the decision of dropping support for all BlackBerry devices will not change the company’s mission. Koum said that the decision will improve the app’s “speed, reliability, security and simplicity.” He added that in the next seven years the company endeavor is to expand its reach to “another six billion” people.
According to the company, nearly one in seven people on the planet use the app each month as a way of communication. The company firmly believe that the social app is an indispensable tool of sharing “all kinds of information” ranging from “finding a date to sharing vital information during natural disasters.”
According to the WhatsApp Blog, the app supports 53 languages. Over 1.6 billion images and 250 million videos are shared on the social platform everyday. Some technology experts believe that the social tool is popular because of its user-friendly features. Families and friends anywhere on the planet are able to communicate “without costs or gimmicks standing in the way.” However, the grim news that WhatsApp will be ending support for all BlackBerry devices and older android phones will be received with a frown from most active users using the “outdated” mobile phones. The message to them is clear; Get an upgrade today!
By Shepherd Mutsvara
Forbes: WhatsApp Is Ending Support for BlackBerry
WhatsApp Blog: WhatsApp Support for Mobile Devices
Independent: WhatsApp Drops Support for BlackBerry, Nokia and Older Android Phones
Image Courtesy of Microsiervos’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License