More reports on: Microsoft, Research In Motion

WhatsApp to withdraw support for Symbian, Nokia S40 and BlackBerry phones

13 July 2016

WhatsApp is withdrawing support for all Symbian, Nokia S40, BlackBerry phones and phones running older versions of Windows, Android and iOS operating systems would also not be supported.

The service for the devices and platforms would stand withdrawn from the end of the year. Smartphone shipments in 2016 are predicted to overtake feature phone shipments in India.

Though WhatsApp was known to have plans to discontinue service on dying platforms since March, there is now a date.

For those holding out on using a smartphone, withdrawal of support of this service would come as a harsh blow. WhatsApp is one of the most critical apps on Symbian S60 devices currently, along with maps, music player and email and is one of the cheapest modes of communication available on these devices.

WhatsApp's end encryption is also available on these feature phones. After December 2016, users who wish to continue to use WhatsApp would be forced to upgrade to a device supporting a newer version of Windows, Android or iOS.

According to commentators, this would be a hard choice to make, especially for those who are using Symbian phones out of choice. Android, iOS and Windows are far more complex operating systems compared to Symbian, which means they have greater exposure to bugs and therefore more security concerns, which might be something some users might not willing to compromise with.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp had sent messages reading, "Unfortunately, you won't be able to use WhatsApp after 31/12/2016 because WhatsApp will no longer support your phone." In a blog post WhatsApp asked users of any of the affected platforms to switch to iOS, Android, or Windows Phone in order to continue using WhatsApp.

According to commentators, the decision marks just how much the market had changed in the years since WhatsApp was first launched in 2009. At the time, Android and iOS platforms were running on less than 25 percent of active devices, while the market was dominated by BlackBerry and Nokia's operating systems with roughly a 70 per cent share.

They add the decision to end support for Symbian and BlackBerry, showed how  these platforms had lost popularity.

According to BlackBerry, they were 'extremely disappointed' with WhatsApp's decision, and were currently searching for alternatives for BlackBerry users.

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