Whatsapp cuts out older phones

Lynn Prins

By the end of the year 2016, the Facebook-owned messaging platform will leave some of the mobile operating systems behind for good.

This is due to the fact that many older phones could potentially hold back the app’s growth, according to Whatsapp.

The announcement started by noting that WhatsApp recently celebrated its seventh birthday.

“But anniversary dates are also an opportunity to look back. When we started WhatsApp in 2009, people’s use of mobile devices looked very different from today,” according to Whatsapp blog post.

The Apple App Store was only a few months old by then.

“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.”
Given that the mobile landscape has shifted from one dominated by BlackBerry and Nokia to one taken over by Android and iOS, the company declared that it’s time to refocus their efforts.

By the end of 2016, support for WhatsApp Messenger will stop for BlackBerry (including BlackBerry 10); Nokia S40; Nokia Symbian S60; Android 2.1 and 2.2; and Windows Phone 7.1.

“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,” according to the blog post.

At the beginning of the month, WhatsApp announced that it has 1 billion users.

This will be sad news for WhatsApp users in developing markets, where some of these older operating systems are still relevant especially.

According to a report from Techweez in 2014, a worldwide poll by Jana Mobile revealed that almost half of Kenya’s mobile users i.e. 49 percent use Whatsapp as their key messaging tool.

Perhaps now would be a good time to start saving for a more upgraded mobile device if you are amongst the users with an older device, to be sure you don’t miss out on the popular messaging app.

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