After a crucial 2016 business year for Blackberry and Nokia smartphone giants, WhatsApp has decided to end support for BlackBerry and Nokia platforms by the end of this 2016.
This was made known via the messaging service blog earlier this week after celebrating its seventh anniversary with its one billion active users along side the cleanup.
In addition to announcing that it will end support for BlackBerry devices (all of them, including BlackBerry 10) the company also announced Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.1 and 2.2, and Windows Phone 7.1 will also get the axe.
When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today. 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.
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. If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone before the end of 2016 to continue using WhatsApp.
Last year, John Chen, BlackBerry’s CEO, during the Code Mobile conference, hinted on the possibility of giving up its handset business if it can’t meet the goal of selling five million smartphones at the close of 2015.
The recent BlackBerry Priv, an android slider phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard hidden beneath its screen and full support for Android apps, is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, it should come as little surprise that major developers like the Facebook-owned WhatsApp are abandoning it as well.
Sure, there’s still 10 months left before WhatsApp shuts it down for these platforms, but do you want to be using a ticking time bomb? If you’re still clinging onto a BlackBerry and use WhatsApp or use one of the aforementioned Nokia, old Android and Windows Phone 7.1 platforms, it might be time to consider upgrading to a new device.