It’s been a month of milestones for Facebook-owned instant messaging app WhatsApp. The company celebrated its seventh anniversary earlier this week and also announced that it passed the one billion monthly active users mark.
The company’s latest announcement on Friday, states that it now wishes to focus its efforts on the mobile platforms used by the majority of its users — Android and iOS.
By the end of this year, WhatsApp announced that it would stop supporting older (or should we say mainstream obsolete operating systems). The company says that this decision was made envisioning the next seven years of its business. Here are the platforms on which WhatsApp will be ripped off from by the end of this year:
- BlackBerry, including BlackBerry 10
- Nokia S40
- Nokia Symbian S60
- Android 2.1 and Android 2.2
- Windows Phone 7.1
The announcement highlights the changes in the market seven years ago, when the application was developed, and now, when the IM chat service is at its peak.
The announcement reads,
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.
Another thing to note is that when WhatsApp was dumped into multiple different app stores for the first time, it was just a messaging app. Now however, it has a number of features that make it more than just that. We get voice calls, group chat, multiple emojis from the service and reportedly video calls will be arriving to the app in the near future.
Most of the users will not be affected by this new revelation from WhatsApp but people belonging to developing countries will take a hit as majority of these markets are still led by Nokia’s older phones.
WhatsApp’s explanation for lifting support from these platforms is straightforward. The company says that the aforementioned OS’s don’t offer the kind of capabilities it needs to expand the app’s features.
Concluding the announcement, the company writes,
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.