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article imageWhatsApp announces plans to withdraw its app from BlackBerry

By James Walker     Feb 29, 2016 in Technology
Popular instant messaging app WhatsApp has announced it will be discontinuing support for several aging phone platforms. Notably, the app will no longer support all BlackBerry devices, including recent BlackBerry 10 ones.
WhatsApp announced the decision in a blog post, explaining it needs to make the changes to continue adding more features to the service for people with newer phones. The company has decided to cease supporting older devices. Although no timeframe has been given, WhatsApp says support will end by 2017.
The affected platforms are versions of BlackBerry's proprietary software, including BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.1 Éclair, Android 2.2 Froyo and Windows Phone 7.1. All of these operating systems have negligible market share and the Symbian, Android and Windows Phone platforms are now viewed as end of life by their creators.
The story is a little different for BlackBerry though. BlackBerry is currently undergoing a transition to using Android on its mobile devices but BlackBerry 10 remains supported in the meantime.
The operating system is famed for its security, a feature that has made it popular with clientele including governments and the military. WhatsApp, itself known for its security and encryption, is withdrawing from a platform it appears to go hand in hand with. The company noted that these older platforms "have been an important part of our story" but are preventing it from expanding its app's features even further.
Explaining the decision, WhatsApp said it wants to focus its efforts onto the mobile platforms "the vast majority of people use". When the company launched in 2009, around 70 percent of smartphones were sold by BlackBerry and Nokia. Apple, Google and Microsoft accounted for a total of 25 percent.
In the seven years since, the situation has changed dramatically. BlackBerry and Nokia have suffered epic declines as Apple and Google have grown to prominence. Today, they command 99.5 percent of the market, including Windows Mobile sales by Microsoft.
"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," the company said. "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."
WhatsApp claims it isn't abandoning its first users who made it into the success story it is today. Instead, it is planning for the future and being realistic regarding how many people still use these old smartphone platforms, enabling it to add new experiences for its users on modern devices.
More about whatsapp, Blackberry, Platform, Smartphones, Instant Messaging
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