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WhatsApp to withdraw support for BlackBerry devices

02 March 2016

WhatsApp says it plans to withdraw support for BlackBerry devices (BB10 included), Symbian 40, Symbian 60, Android 2.1 and 2.2 devices and Windows Phone 7.1 sometime this year.

WhatsApp said in a blog post published a few days ago,  the market currently comprised 99 per cent Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 and above devices.

WhatsApp added that the decision was ''not an easy one to make'' as the market had evolved towards  other platforms.

While other platforms would suffer, BB10 users had some respite as the devices were capable of running Android apps within the OS. They would, of course, lose out on Hub integration, but if they really wanted WhatsApp, that might be the only way out.

''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 WhatsApp. Finally, WhatsApp stated, ''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.''

BlackBerry fans would find it difficult to switch to another platform and other mobile operating systems. But they would not have any other option.

It may be interesting to note that according to WhatsApp, at the time of its launch 7 years ago, 70 per cent of the smartphones sold were either BlackBerry  or Nokia Symbian phones, which currently accounted for less than 1 per cent of sold phones.

According to commentators, while phasing out the older OS's like Symbian S60, Android 2.2 and below and Windows 7.1 made sense, lumping BlackBerry with these, truly amounted to sounding the death knell for BlackBerry's OS.

It may be noted that BlackBerry still supported its OS with the latest update rolled out in January this year, while the other OS makers had long since updated or adopted different OSes from the ones phased out.

However, reports from earlier this year indicate that BlackBerry itself might be looking to go Android only, as it had no new BB10 OS devices planned for 2016.

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