WhatsApp calling it quits on certain phones

1 Mar 2016

WhatsApp, the free online messaging tool that currently has 1bn monthly users worldwide, is walking away from a selection of operating systems this year.

Now seven years old, WhatsApp is repositioning its offering after a particularly amazing 18 months or so.

Shifting away from the operating systems that helped bed in the service, by the end of the year Nokia and Blackberry are set to be left behind.

The duo represented 70pc of smartphones when WhatsApp was born but, with Google, Apple and Microsoft accounting for almost 100pc of all operating systems today, the decision seems an obvious one.

“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.

The full list of OS being dropped includes BlackBerry (including BlackBerry 10), Nokia S40, Nokia Symbian S60, Android 2.1 and 2.2 and Windows Phone 7.1.

On the up

Everything WhatsApp has done has worked, of late, with news last month that it breached the 1bn users per month mark, an incredible result for the Facebook-owned company.

WhatsApp’s user base has rocketed up since Facebook’s acquisition, in particular, which was in 2014 and cost the tech giant something like $19bn. It enjoyed ‘just’ 450m active monthly users at the time, with this figure having doubled in less than two years.

Jan Koum, the head of WhatsApp, says it has 1bn users, while the WhatsApp blog says 1bn people, which are two completely different things. However, for the sake of marketing, the company claims that one in seven people on the planet are using its service.

“We still have another 6bn people to get on WhatsApp,” said the company, and its latest move will hardly be cutting anybody out, with WhatsApp saying 99.5pc of devices are still supported.

“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.”

Main image via 10 Face/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic