WhatsApp’s 7 year anniversary is a bittersweet one for BlackBerry and Nokia OS users, with the company announcing that it’s bidding goodbye to the platforms by the end of 2016. The popular messaging app is looking to march ahead with the times since a vast majority of people have moved on to more popular options now.
Axing support for older operating systems makes sense for WhatsApp, given the radical changes which have occurred since it debuted in 2009. Back then, Nokia and BlackBerry had commanded 70% of the OS market. The App Store was just a few months old. Apple, Google and Microsoft were present in less than 25% of smartphones at the time.
Fast-forward 7 years later and these 3 now make up 99.5% of sales today. WhatsApp’s decision makes good business sense, since it will be able to concentrate on providing services to platforms which are currently active and are likely to continue being around in the future as well. The older ones additionally won’t be able to support new features which the app introduces in the future.
The complete list of operating systems WhatsApp will abandon consist of BlackBerry, Android 2.1, Android 2.2, Windows Phone 7.1, Nokia Symbian S60 and Nokia S40. This includes BlackBerry 10, the brand’s latest OS. However, the manufacturer itself is has taken steps to prevent its phones from sliding into oblivion by using Android in its newest Priv handset.
For anyone using the above platforms, WhatsApp recommends switching to a more modern Android, Windows or iPhone device before the end of the year. The app currently boasts of a massive user base which had crossed the 1 billion milestone earlier this month. It might lose a certain chunk of that after this transition, but probably not enough to hurt its numbers too much overall.