WhatsApp has announced that the app will soon be discontinued on Blackberry, some Nokia devices as well as some Android phones by the end of the year. The Facebook-owned messaging app that recently celebrated its seventh anniversary and boasts over one billion active users as of February 2016, has decided to drop support for many older phone versions arguing that they could hold back the app’s growth.
In a blog post that the company wrote they said, “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 decisions bound to affect every Blackberry including those that run the relatively new Blackberry 10; an OS that last shipped on a new phone less than a year and a half ago that powers Blackberry’s android-powered Priv slider phone, the Nokia s40, the Nokia Symbian 260 and any phone running android 2.1 or 2.3 or Windows Phone 7.1.
Blackberry is one that has been greatly affected by this as they sold over 7 million phones in 2014 alone, meaning at least tens of millions of phones will not be able to run the application. This includes an estimated 700,000 in the United Arab Emirates alone. The company said that those who will be affected should get newer ones by the end of the year. The Nokia s40 discontinuation will also likely to out many users of Nokia phones especially those in developing countries in a fix.
WhatsApp suggests ‘upgrading to a newer Android, iPhone or Windows phone’ if you want to keep using the service – if not, you’ll need to find another messaging service by the end of the year when the app will be discontinued on other operating systems of the above mentioned phones.
“This was a tough decision 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,” the company wrote in its blog post.
Founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton, Ukrainian immigrants to America in the year 2009 was acquired by Facebook Inc for approximately 19.3 billion U.S dollars on February 19th 2014.
There are also some new features that are to be introduced such as the ability to communicate with business organizations.
Some of the notable changes that WhatsApp has seen over the years include:
• Introduction of voice calls
• Doubling up off active users since joining Facebook
• The scratching off of the annual $1 annual subscription fee to make it completely free to get the app. This was said to be a step into removing the barrier faced by some users who do not have a credit card to pay for the service
• The removal of third party advertisements
This acquisition may make most Blackberry users and others who will be affected by the company’s decision to start shifting to message services like Telegram which has so far seen 8 million downloads of its app, WeChat that has 468 million active users or Viber that has 209 million active users.