The popular messaging app, WhatsApp will only be available on devices running at least Android 2.3+, Windows Phone 8.1+ and iOS in 2017.
WhatsApp has stated it will henceforth be supporting only the most prevalent operating systems as of now, which means bad news for those still hanging on to their ‘good old’ mobile devices.
Among operating systems that find themselves at the receiving end of WhatsApp post their restructuring are Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60. Older versions of Windows Phone and Android too have been included in the list, which specifically applies to devices running Windows Phone 7.1 and Android 2.1 and 2.2.
While, BlackBerry platform as a whole will cease to be compatible with WhatsApp, which applies to even the more recent BlackBerry 10. This comes hardly as a surprise considering the Canadian phone maker itself seems to be transiting towards Android off late.
No such version restrictions have been cited for Apple’s iOS.
The Facebook-owned messaging company has set the end of 2016 as the deadline before users of the above mentioned operating systems need to upgrade to a newer version of operating systems or compatible devices.
Interestingly, the development comes at a time when WhatsApp is celebrating 7th year of its existence, during which time it has emerged almost as the default messaging app for a vast majority of users. To put that in figures, WhatsApp has grown to have more than a billion monthly active users worldwide.
WhatsApp also explained the move to have their service active only on recent mobile platforms stems from the fact that older operating systems simply doesn’t have the support built into them to keep up with advanced features that the messaging service plans to introduce in the future.
“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,” the company said.
“This was a tough decision for us to make,” it added, “but the right one in order to give people better ways to keep in touch with friends, family, and loved ones using WhatsApp.”
In any case, there isn’t going to be a huge number of those likely to be affected by WhatsApp’s decision considering the vast majority of its users have the latest versions of Android, and iOS on their devices. A recent survey has also pointed to the Google and Apple platforms are accounting for a 99.5 percent share of the smartphone market to themselves.
However, WhatsApp’s move is still expected to hit hard those clinging on to older handsets for the simple reason that their defiance of the lure of more modern handsets can perhaps be justified by the love and dependence that they have grown for their devices.
In the end, it could be another take of the classic heart vs mind battle – whether to upgrade to a more recent phone to continue using WhatsApp along with the myriad more features it launches in the future or switch to a different messaging service while sticking to their favorite handsets that they have become used to for so long.