If you belong to the group of people who still rely on old smartphones to send out WhatsApp texts, you may need to add a new upgraded phone to your birthday wish list.
WhatsApp has made the official announcement that the company will no longer support a number of old smartphone systems and will remove them by the end of 2016. According to the Facebook-owned firm, these aging platforms can no longer keep up with the latest features and will only hold back the app’s growth.
A statement released by WhatsApp 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. As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use“.
The devices in question that will be left behind includes:
- BlackBerry, including BlackBerry 10
- Nokia S40
- Nokia Symbian S60
- Android 2.1 and Android 2.2
- Windows Phone 7.1
While this latest news will no doubt be poorly received by some, it makes sense for WhatsApp to turn the focus towards platforms that are used by the vast majority of its users. The instant messaging application has evolved a whole lot since its inception as a simple messaging app – it now offers voice calls and video calls are reportedly being added too.
The announcement also explained: “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 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.”
Moving forward, WhatsApp is suggesting to those who are still using one of the aforementioned mobile devices to upgrade to “iPhone, a more modern Android, or a Windows Phone device” by the end of this year. Alternatively, you could find another messaging service when the app officially discontinues.
No indications were given on whether WhatsApp will altogether remove its software from respective app stores or if the app will just cease to update.